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A    HISTORY    OF 
THE    FROZEN    MEAT    TRADE 


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V)     _O 

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A    HISTORY    OF    THE 

FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

AN     ACCOUNT     OF     THE      DEVELOPMENT     AND 

PRESENT     DAY     METHODS     OF      PREPARATION, 

TRANSPORT,  AND   MARKETING  OF  FROZEN   AND 

CHILLED   MEATS 

BV 

JAMES    TROUBRIDGE    CRITCHELL 


AND 


JOSEPH    RAYMOND 


WITH    ILLUSTRATIONS    AND    DIAGRAMS 


SECOND     EDITION 


LONDON 
CONSTABLE    &    COMPANY    LTD 

10    ORANGE     STREET    LEICESTER     SQUARE     \VC 

1912 


PKEFACE 

MUCH  that  is  extremely  interesting,  and  a  little  that  is 
romantic,  is  to  be  found  in  the  history  of  the  industry  to 
which  this  book  is  devoted,  and  the  authors  hope  that  the 
records  which  appear  in  these  pages  of  the  rise  and  progress 
of  the  frozen  and  chilled  meat  trades  will  justify  the  publica- 
tion of  this  volume.  Many  works  have  appeared  describing 
the  beginnings  and  developments  of  the  great  wool  industry, 
but  nothing  of  an  historical  and  exhaustive  nature  has  ever 
been  published  in  book  form  (although  pamphlets  and  news- 
paper articles  without  number  have  been  issued)  about  the 
frozen  meat  business.  To  provide  food  is,  at  least,  as  impor- 
tant as  to  supply  clothing,  and  the  one  industry  lends  itself 
to  description  as  readily  as  the  other. 

The  personnel  of  the  pioneers  who  worked  out  the  practical 
and  technical  problems  of  the  preparation  and  transport  of 
frozen  meat — successfully  sometimes,  frequently  otherwise — 
included  men  of  a  high  order  of  intellect  and  character.  To 
read  Mr.  Mort's  speech,  delivered  on  September  2,  1875,  at  the 
Lithgow  Valley  Works  (see  p.  20),  is  to  be  thrilled  with  some 
sense  of  the  exaltation  of  spirit  which  must  have  inspired  his 
hearers  in  contemplating  the  world-wide  benefit  to  follow  upon 
the  exportation  of  Australia's  surplus  of  meat,  the  hoped-for  era 
so  eloquently  forecasted  by  Mort.  The  engineers  engaged 
upon  the  freezing  formulae,  the  shipowners  endeavouring  to 
alter  their  system  to  grapple  with  the  new  position  created  by 
the  Strathleven  shipment,  the  merchants  and  bankers  in  London 
applying  themselves  to  the  most  important  part  of  the  whole 
trade — marketing  the  meat — deserve  recognition  in  the  printed 
page  before  the  lapse  of  time  destroys  all  records.  It  has  been 
difficult  enough,  after  thirty  years  from  the  starting  point,  to 


vi  PREFACE 

procure  data  sufficiently  reliable  to  justify  the  title  of  this 
book. 

A  chapter  was  written  entitled  "  The  Case  for  Frozen  Meat," 
setting  forth  specifically  the  benefit  which  the  new  trade  has 
brought  to  the  world  at  large,  but  on  consideration  it  was 
perceived  that  the  whole  of  the  book,  including  the  illustra- 
tions, diagrams,  and  tabular  and  graphic  matter  in  the 
appendices,  formed  a  most  complete  "Case  for  Frozen  Meat," 
and  the  authors  venture  to  hope  that  their  volume  will  assist, 
to  some  degree,  in  popularizing  still  further  the  use  of  frozen 
and  chilled  meat  in  the  Northern  Hemisphere,  inasmuch  as 
it  draws  attention  to  the  able  and  distinguished  men  who 
pioneered  the  trade,  to  the  sound  quality  and  drastic  inspec- 
tion of  the  meat  before  export,  and  to  the  excellent  system 
under  which  the  transport  and  marketing  systems  are  conducted. 
The  chapters  have  been  written  in  a  plain  style,  and  technical 
treatment  has  been  avoided  in  favour  of  the  general  treatise 
form.  Great  efforts  towards  accuracy  have  been  made,  and  if 
some  errors  have  crept  in,  the  indulgence  of  readers  is  asked 
for.  It  has  been,  of  course,  the  authors'  desire  to  achieve  im- 
partiality in  discussing  the  work  of  the  pioneers  and  in  touch- 
ing on  the  later  developments  in  which  gentlemen  and  business 
houses  engaged  in  the  trade  have  been  and  are  concerned. 

The  part  which  the  journals  published  in  Australia  and  New 
Zealand  took  in  helping  forward  the  early  efforts  of  the  pioneers 
by  opening  their  columns  to  articles  and  full  discussion,  deserves 
a  special  word  of  acknowledgment.  At  a  critical  time,  un- 
doubtedly, this  publicity  was  of  considerable  assistance  to  the 
growing  industry. 

In  order  to  procure  information  on  trade  questions,  the 
authors,  wherever  possible,  have  gone  to  the  fountain  head, 
and  they  owe  a  heavy  debt  of  gratitude  to  the  many  gentlemen 
and  firms  who  have  been  appealed  to.  Hence  they  desire  in 
the  fullest  and  frankest  way  to  return  thanks  for  the  prompt 
replies  to  the  thousands  of  letters  (over  4,000  in  all)  written  to 
all  parts  of  the  world — only  in  a  few  cases  has  information  been 
withheld.  Without  such  kindly  assistance  there  would  not 
have  been  any  chance  of  this  book  being  prepared.  In  par- 


PREFACE  vii 

ticular,  acknowledgment  is  due  to  some  of  those  whose  names 
appear  in  the  biographical  section ;  to  Mr.  Gilbert  Anderson, 
Mr.  George  Goodsir,  and  Mr.  P.  B.  Proctor,  whose  statistical 
reports  have  been  drawn  upon ;  and  to  the  leading  firms  of 
importers,  agents,  and  merchants,  in  Great  Britain,  who  have 
supplied  practical  commercial  details  for  certain  sections  of  the 
work.  The  special  assistance  of  the  following  gentlemen  has 
also  to  be  acknowledged :  Mr.  R.  H.  Rew,  Assistant  Secretary  of 
the  Board  of  Agriculture  and  Fisheries :  Mr.  A.  Scott,  Secretary 
of  Lloyd's  Register  of  British  and  Foreign  Shipping  ;  Dr.  Sergio 
Garcia  Uriburu,  Consul  General  for  Argentina  in  London  ; 
Mr.  H.  W.  G.  Millman,  Clerk  and  Superintendent  of  the  London 
Central  Markets ;  Captain  T.  R.  Mowat,  of  Messrs.  Johnson's 
Sons  and  Mowat ;  Mr.  Hal  Williams,  M.I.Mech.E.,  M.I.E.E. ; 
Mr.  M.  T.  Brown,  B.Sc. ;  Mr.  E.  R.  Baines,  of  the  Port  of  London 
Authority ;  Mr.  T.  Douglas  Huggett,  of  the  London  Daily 
Telegraph,  and  Mr.  Louis  H.  Furniss,  Secretary  of  the  Incor- 
porated Society  of  Meat  Importers. 

The  plan  on  which  the  book  has  been  prepared  is,  broadly,  to 
touch  on  the  historical  part,  with  a  sketch  of  the  conditions 
which  gave  birth  to  the  industry,  and  the  personages  and 
leading  events  figuring  in  the  frozen  meat  story  as  re- 
frigeration's aid  was  found  practicable  for  conveying  the  surplus 
meat  of  the  Southern  Hemisphere  to  supply  the  scarcity  of  the 
Northern.  The  sequence  of  chapters  takes  readers  to  the  con- 
sideration of  the  commercial  methods  under  which  frozen  and 
chilled  meat  is  transported  and  handled,  and  sold  in  Great 
Britain.  The  endeavour  mainly  has  been  to  describe  the 
various  stages  through  which  frozen  meat  passes  from  the  time 
it  is  placed  on  board  the  steamer  until  it  reaches  its  predestined 
goal,  the  meat  retailer's  shop  in  England  or  Scotland. 

With  regard  to  the  pictures  appearing  in  the  book,  freezing 
works  are  more  useful  than  ornamental,  but  it  has  been 
thought  that  to  give  illustrations  of  some  of  these  works  would 
be  a  fitting  accompaniment  to  the  written  descriptions  of  the 
meat  freezing  industry.  Ships,  real  argosies  of  the  ocean  when 
food-freighted  on  account  of  the  workers  of  the  Homeland, 
need  no  apology  for  their  presentation  in  picture  form.  Many 


viii  PREFACE 

of  the  pioneers'  portraits  will  be  found  in  the  book,  and  the 
photographs  of  some  of  the  leading  merchants  and  importers 
at  present  engaged  in  the  trade  are  also  given.  It  is  fitting 
that  in  a  work  of  this  kind  these  men,  whose  business  energy 
and  capital  have  done  so  much  to  build  up  the  trade  to  its 
present  commanding  position,  should  receive  this  special 
recognition  at  the  hands  of  the  authors  of  the  History  of  the 
Frozen  Meat  Trade. 

The  Index  and  Appendices  have  been  compiled  in  a  very 
detailed  form,  and  it  is  hoped  that  the  particulars  therein 
contained,  as  well  as  the  information  recorded  in  the  twenty- 
nine  chapters,  will  make  this  volume  a  useful  and  necessary 
work  of  reference. 

The  authors  acknowledge,  with  thanks,  the  courtesy  of  the 
proprietors  of  the  journals  named  below,  in  giving  permission 
for  the  use  of  photographs : — Engineering,  for  the  two  views  of 
the  La  Negra  Works  on  p.  82 ;  the  Cold  Storage  and  Produce 
Review,  for  the  portrait  of  M.  Charles  Tellier ;  Syren  and 
Shipping  for  the  illustration  of  the  El  Zarate  on  p.  344 ; 
Ice  and  Cold  Storage  for  the  picture  of  the  insulated  van 
on  p.  344  ;  and  the  Canterbury  Times,  New  Zealand,  for 
the  page  view  of  the  Islington  Works  of  the  Christ/church 
Meat  Company  on  p.  66. 

LONDON, 

Easter,  1912. 


CONTENTS 

CHAPTER  I. 

PAOB 

BRITAIN'S  CALL  FOR  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES:  SHORTAGE  AND  SURPLUS        1 

Earliest  Statistics  of  Home  Supplies — Official  Anxiety — Early 
Attempts  at  Preserving  Meat — Australian  and  New  Zealand 
Surplus  of  Stock — Boiling  Down  and  Tinning — The  United  States 
of  America  export  Frozen  Beef  in  1874 — Foundations  of  Argen- 
tina's Herds  and  Flocks — Problem  of  the  Pampas — How  it  was 
solved. 

CHAPTER  H. 

THE  WORK  OF  THE  PIONEERS 18 

Mort,  his  Dreams  and  Achievements — James  Harrison — The 
Bell-Coleman  Machine — Tellier's  Shipment  per  Friyorifique  in 
1876 — The  Pioneer  Shipment  of  Frozen  Meat  to  Europe  per  s.s. 
Paraguay  in  1877 — The  Strathleven'$  Historic  Shipment — Australian 
Exports  in  the  Early  80's — New  Zealand's  Part — The  Dunedin — 
Brydone's  Forecast. 

CHAPTER  LEI. 

THE  FREEZING  WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA 46 

Lines  of  Development  —  Queensland,  its  Works  and  their 
History — New  South  Wales'  Enterprises — Chilling  Up-Country — 
Victoria — South  Australia  and  Western  Australia. 

CHAPTEB  IV. 

NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING  WORKS 60 

Tho  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Company,  formed  at  Dunedin 
in  1881 — Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  Company — Gear  Meat  Company, 
Wellington  —  Nelson  Brothers'  Freezing  Works  —  Christchurch 
Meat  Company— Wellington  Meat  Export  Company — Establish- 
ment of  the  other  Freezing  Works  in  New  Zealand — The  Opera- 
tions at  a  New  Zealand  Meat  Works. 

CHAPTER  V. 

THE  SOUTH  AMERICAN  FRIOORIFICOS 74 

Development  Statistics — The  Live  Cattle  Trade  and  its  Stoppage 
— River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Company  and  its  Founder — San  Nicolas 
Works — James  Nelson  and  Sons — Compania  Sansinena  de  Carnes 
f'ongeladas— The  Falkland  Islands  and  Patagonia— Beef  from 
Yenr/nelii. 


x  CONTENTS 

CHAPTER  VI. 

PARE 

IMPROVING  FLOCKS  AND  HERDS  IN  THE  SOUTHERN  HEMISPHERE     .      93 

Evolution  of  Mutton  Sheep  in  Australasia  —  Mr.  J.  C.  N. 
Grigg's  views — Argentine  Imports  of  Pedigree  Stock. 

CHAPTER  VII. 

THE  STOCKRAISERS'  MARKET 100 

The  Argentine  Way — Australasian  Methods — Buying  and  Selling 
Forward — How  the  c.Lf.  Trade  is  Worked — Grading — Eates  and 
Freights — From  Ship  to  Cold  Store. 

CHAPTEE  VIH. 

THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  MEAT  INSPECTOR 117 

New  Zealand  Inspection — Australian — Argentine — The  Im- 
perfect Inspection  of  Meat  killed  in  the  United  Kingdom — 
Public  Health  Regulations — An  International  Standard  wanted. 

CHAPTEE  IX. 

THE  SHIPOWNERS'  BURDEN 126 

The  Eomance  and  Statistics  of  Eefrigerated  Shipping — The  First 
Fleets — The  Shaw-Savill  Company,  the  New  Zealand  Shipping 
Company,  and  the  Shire  Line  Pioneer  the  Frozen  Meat  Carrying 
Trade  from  New  Zealand — Evolution  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Carrier 
— The  Shipowner  as  Merchant — Freights — Multiplicity  of  Marks 
— Frozen  Meat  Bill  of  Lading — How  the  Australian  Shipowners 
took  up  the  New  Trade — The  First  Befrigerated  Steamers  and 
when  they  sailed — The  Methods  by  which  Eiver  Plate  Frozen 
Meat  was  first  shipped  to  Europe  —  The  South  American 
Eefrigerated  Fleet  of  the  Present  Day. 

CHAPTEE  X. 

THE  UNDERWRITERS'  EISK 145 

The  Producers'  Supineness — Early  Insurance  Covers — Claims, 
Surveys,  and  Allowances— The  A  1  Clause — Underwriters'  Move 
to  Eeform — Three  Views  of  Meat  Insurance — Appeal  to  the  Courts 
— Insurance  Details — Surveyors'  Duties — Classes  of  Damage. 

CHAPTEE  XI. 

COLD  STORAGE 163 

The  First  Installation  in  London — Docks  Stores — At  Smithfield 
— Nelson  Brothers'  Undertakings — Union  Cold  Storage  Company 
—Other  Cold  Stores. 


1 , .  . 

(ONTKMS  xi 

CHAPTER  XII. 

r*nt 

THE  STOREKEEPERS'  DUTIES 173 

Beaching  the  Store— Periods  of  Storage — Mark* — Cold  Storage 
Rates— Dividends— Responsibilities  and  Risks— Finality  of  the 
Storekeepers'  Weights. 

CHAPTEB  XHI. 

THE  GREAT  SSHTTIFIELD  MARKET 182 

Smithfield  and  its  Wide  Interests— Old  Kmithfield  — An  Historical 

Picture — The  Central  Markets  and  their  Growth — The  Japanese 

Village — Evolution  of  Marketing  Methods — The  American  Invasion 

—  London   Corporation's  Claims  in  1904  —  Trade  Operations  — 

Prices  for  the  Day. 

CHAPTEB  XIV. 

BEACHING  THE  CONSUMER 200 

How  the  Betail  Trade  is  Divided— The  Producer  the  Would-be 
Retailor — New  Zealanders'  Eyes  on  the  Retail  Business — Lamb 
r.  Mutton — Retailing  Beef — A  Census  of  Retail  Shops— The 
Multiple  Shop  System. 

CHAPTER  XV. 

PKOVINCIAL  DISTRIBUTION 211 

The  Argument  for  Outports — South  American  Meat  and  Liver- 
pool— The  West  Coast  Service — Beview  of  Liverpool's  Facilities — 
Manchester  —  Cardiff  —  Bristol  —  Hull  —  Glasgow  —  Serving  the 
Provinces  vi&  London. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

CUSTOMERS  IN  OTHER  LANDS 226 

Early  Attempts  on  the  Continent — The  French    Market — A 

Record   of    Enterprise   in    Germany — Austria — Belgium — Other 

European  Countries — Customers  in  the  East — The  Stimulus  of 

-    r<>lil  Storage  in  South  Africa — The  Mediterranean  Garrison 

Ports  as  "  Customers  "—What  the  Future  may  hold. 

CHAPTER  XVH. 

THE  CHILLED  BEEF  TRADE 

('hilling  contrasted  with  Freezing— First  Trials  from  Australia 
and  New  Zealand — Argentina  in  the  Field — Sterilizing  Australian 
Shipments  in  1909,  1910,  and  1911. 


xii  CONTENTS 

CHAPTEE  XVni. 

PA  OK 

SOMK  NOTEWORTHY  INCIDENTS:  1880-1910 254 

Statistical  Comparison  of  Producing  Countries'  Exports — 
Australia's  Progress  —  Australia's  Clientele  —  New  Zealand's 
Progress — Retail  Schemes — Early  New  Zealand  Prices — South 
American  Beginnings — Chilled  Beef — The  Argentine  Freezing 
Works'  Anntis  Mirabilis— Eandom  Jottings:  1890-1908— War 
Office  and  Frozen  Meat — Rival  Methods  of  Distribution — Con- 
trasting Sale  Systems  —  Producers'  Conferences  —  False  Trade 
Description — Meat  Marking — Rise  and  Fall  of  the  North  American 
Dressed  Beef  Trade. 

CHAPTER  XIX. 

A  MISCELLANY 274 

Congress  of  Refrigeration — South  Africa  as  a  Meat  Exporter — 
Lord  Bacon's  Frigorific  Experiment — Frozen  Beef  from  St.  Helena 
— Hereford  Steers  at  I8d.  an  Ounce — Frozen  Mutton  at  the  Lord 
Mayor's  Show — Kosher  Frozen  Meat — An  Early  Welcome  to 
Frozen  Meat — Enter  Mr.  Hooley — A  Cargo  in  Coffins — A  Frozen 
Meat  Cooking  Recipe — A  Frigid  Message — Thyroid  Extract — 
Tallerman  Enterprises — Frozen  Meat  Squibs. 

CHAPTER  XX. 

THE  DIETETICS  OF  FROZEN  MEAT 290 

"  Flourishing  on  Frozen  Meat  " — The  Pedigree  Foundations  of 
Freezing  Stock — Scientific  Tests — Dietetic  Excellence — Preserva- 
tion by  Refrigeration — Medical  Officers'  Testimony. 

CHAPTER  XXI. 

WHAT  THE  TRADE  HAS  DONE  FOR  'AUSTRALIA 299 

(Specially  contributed  by  Mr.  John  Cooke.) 

Early  Methods  of  Disposal  of  Cattle  and  Sheep  Surplus — Frozen 
Meat  Exports  lead  to  Increased  Land  Values — The  Drought  of 
1902— The  Benefit  to  Wool  Growers— Source  of  Income  to  the 
Railways. 

CHAPTER  XXII. 

NEW  ZEALAND'S  GAIN  FROM  FROZEN  MEAT 303 

(Specially  contributed  by  the  Right  Hon.  Sir  Joseph  Ward.) 
The  Launching  of  the  Trade — Statistics  of  Growth  from  1882  to 
1910 — Frozen  Meat  and  the  Prosperity  of  the  Dominion. 


CONTENTS  xiii 

CHAPTER  XXHI. 

turn 

ARGENTINA'S  DKBT  TO  REFRIOBRA in >N 306 

(Specially  contribute!  l.i/  Mr.  Herl»*rt  (itl>tm.) 
Pre-Freesing  Day*— Early  Pastoral  Wealth— The  Growth   of 
Flocks  and  Herds— Fin»t  Freezing  Effort*— I >rabble's  Enterprise 
—Expanding  Production  of  Chilled  Beef— Argentina's  Possible 
Thirty  Millions  of  People  by  1950. 

CHAPTER  XXIV. 

How  THE  BRITISH  PUBLIC  HAS  BENEFITED 313 

Early  Meat  Prices — Lord  Onslow  and  the  Beefsteak  Club — 
Refrigerated  Meat's  Part  in  the  National  Consumption— London's 
Benefit— The  "  Upper  Ten  "—Frozen  Meat  and  the  Army. 

CHAPTER  XXV. 

THE  POSITION  OF  THE  BRITISH  FARMER 320 

Mr.  TurnbulTs  Special  Article:  1880  Compared  with  1910— 
Comparison  of  Prices — The  Breeds  Question — The  Effects  of 
Frozen  Meat  Imports  —  A  Yorkshire  Farmer's  Plaint  —  The 
Splendid  Pedigree  Stock  Export  Trade — The  Farmer's  Position 
Under  Free  Imports. 

CHAPTER  XXVI. 

THE  INCORPORATED  SOCIETY  OF  MEAT  IMPORTERS  (FROZEN  MEAT 

TRADE  ASSOCIATION) 329 

The  Call  for  a  Trade  Society — The  Frozen  Meat  Importers' 
Association  formed  in  1894 — Succeeded  in  1895  by  the  Frozen 
Meat  Trade  Association — Disclosing  Stocks — The  Weekly  Prices 
Cable — The  Charter  and  the  New  Name-  List  of  Presidents  and 
Vice- Presidents. 

CHAPTER  XXVTI. 

MECHANICAL  REFRIGERATION 334 

The  Principles  of  Mechanical  Refrigeration — Early  Discoveries 
— Some  Leaders — Air  Compression  and  Chemical  Refrigerants — 
Insulation — Modern  Refrigerating  Devices — Temperature  Measure- 
ment and  recording — The  Cold  Storage  Chain — Railway  Refrigera- 
tor Cars— Barges— Defrosting  Processes. 

CHAPTER   XXVHI. 

LEADING  PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE  351 

A  Collection  of  Short  Biographies. 


xiv  CONTENTS 

OHAPTEE  XXIX. 

PAGE 

THE  FUTURE  OF  THE  INDUSTRY 393 

The  Home  Market's  Demands  Extending — "  The  World's  mine 
Oyster  " — Dead  Meat  the  Trade  of  the  Future — British  Capital  to 
be  still  Further  Invested  in  the  Industry — New  Zealand  Lamb 
Prospects — Australia's  Possibilities — South  America's  Meat  Export 
Outlook — Looking  Forward — A  Final  Word  about  the  Australasian 
and  Argentine  Systems. 


APPENDICES. 

I. — CATTLE  AND  SHEEP  IMPORTS  INTO  GREAT  BRITAIN  FOR  FOOD   .    403 

Sketch  of  the  Trade :  its  Base  and  Fall  Shown  Statistically — 
Cattle  Diseases  Act,  1896— Foreign  Animals  Order,  1910 — 
Australia's  Abortive  Experiment. 

IE. — BY-PRODUCTS  OF  THE  SLAUGHTER-HOUSE 411 

Meat  Offals  from  North  America,  Australasia,  and  Argentina — 
Full  List  of  American  Meat  By-Products. 

III. — THE  WORLD'S  SUPPLIES  OF  FROZEN  MEAT  IN  1910.       .       .    415 

Supplies  Dissected  and  Tabulated  —  Value  of  "Customers" 
outside  the  United  Kingdom  to  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade. 

IV.— INCORPORATED     SOCIETY     OF     MEAT     IMPORTERS'    WEEKLY 

QUOTATIONS 416 

Reproductions  of  the  Weekly  Quotations  of  July  2,  1897,  and 
July  7,  1911. 

V. — COLD  STORES  AT  THE  CHIEF  PORTS  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN    .       .418 
Tabular  List  with  Capacities. 

VI. — COLD  STORAGE  MAP  OF  LONDON 420 

With  Key  and  Capacities. 

VLT. — FREEZING  WORKS  OF  THE  SOUTHERN  HEMISPHERE 

Complete  Tabular  Statement  of  the  Situation,  Ownership, 
Equipment,  Capacities,  etc.,  of  the  Meat  Freezing  Works  in 
Australia,  New  Zealand,  and  South  America. 

VIII. — THE  REFRIGERATED  FLEET 421 

Full  Liat  of  Shipping  Lines  carrying  Chilled  and  Frozen  Meat, 
with  Total  Capacities. 


CONTENTS  xv 

APPENDICES — continual. 

fAU« 

IX.— IMPORTS  OP  FRO/EN  MUTTON  AND  LAMB  INTO  GREAT  BRITAIN  .    422 
Yearly  Totals  from  1880  to  1910. 

X. — GRAPHIC    CHART    OP    FROZEN    MEAT    PRICES    (SMITHPIELD 
MARKET)  FROM  1883  TO  1910 

XI. — IMPORTS    OP    FROZEN    AND    CHILLED     BEEF    INTO    GREAT 

BRITAIN 423 

Yearly  Totals  from  1874  to  1910. 

XH. — MECHANICAL  REFRIGERATION  PATENTS 425 

British  Patents  Granted  to  Inventors  between  1819  and  1876— 
Special  List  Prepared  from  the  Patent  Office  Records. 

INDEX  433 


ILLUSTRATIONS 

The  Steamship  StratkUve* Fruntitpiece 

Thomas  Sutcliffe  Mort — Portrait  and  Statue       ....  Facing  Page      18 

James  Harrison — Portrait  and  Monument „  22 

Charles  Tellier— Portrait,  and  the  u.  Frigorifiqv*      .        .        .  „  26 

Portrait— Mr.  Andrew  Mcllwraith „  80 

The  Bailing  Ship  Dunedi*  and  Captain  Whitson         .        .        .  „  40 

Thomas  Brydone — Portrait „  44 

The    Freezing  Works  of  the   Queensland   Meat    Export  Co., 

Brisbane  and  Townsville „  48 

The  Murarrie  Freezing  Works,  Brisbane „  60 

Bird's-eye  View  of  the  Rirerina  Freezing  Works  „  54 
The  Freezing  Works  of  Messrs.  Thomas  Borthwick  and  Sons 

(Australasia),  Ltd.,  Portland,  Victoria,  Australia     .        .        .  „  56 

The  Picton  Freezing  Works  of  the  Cliristchurch  Meat  Co. .        .  .,  60 

The  Gear  Co.'s  Freezing  Works,  Wellington        ....  „  62 

The  Freezing  Works   of    Messrs.  Nelson    Brothers,    Ltd.,   at 

Oisborne,  New  Zealand    ........  „  64 

The  Islington  Freezing  Works  of  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.     .  „  66 

The  Freezing  Works  of  the  Wellington  Meat  Export  Co.    .  „  68 
The  Freezing  Works  of  the  Oisborne  Sheep-Farmers1  Frozen 

Meat  Co 70 

Portraits — The  late  Mr.  George  W.  Drabble ;  the  late  Senor 

Eduardo  Olivera  ;  Dr.  Emilio  Fren „  76 

The  La  Negra  Freezing  Works,  Buenos  Aires      ....  „  82 

The  La  Negra  Freezing  Works  (Interior) „  82 

The  La  Plata  Frigorifico  (Interior) „  84 

The  San  Gregorio  Freezing  Works,  Patagonia     ....  .,  88 

John  Grigg,  of  Longbeach — Portrait  and  Statue  „  94 
The  3,000-guinea  Shorthorn  Bull,  imported  into  Argentina  in 

1906 96 

The  1,450-guinea  Lincoln   Ram,  imported  into  Argentina  in 

1906 98 

"  Prime  Canterbury  Lamb " „  106 

Captain  Noakes's  Mechanical  Conveyor „  112 

Facsimile  Reproduction  of  Australasian  and  Argentine  Inspec- 
tion Labels „  118 

F.M.  b 


xviii  ILLUSTRATIONS 

Section  of  the  s.s.  Onoestry  Grange Facing  Page     126 

The  8.8.  Remiiera „  130 

The  8.8.  Rangatira ,,  134 

The  s.8.  Argyllshire „  138 

The  8.S.  El  Argentina „  142 

The  s.8.  Suevie „  144 

Smithfield  Market „  182 

Old  Smithfield ,  184 

Smithfield  Market — Interior,  and  North  Entrance      ...  „  188 

Smithfield  Market — View  from  Charterhouse  Street   ...  „  192 

Portrait— Sir  Joseph  Ward,  P.C ,.  302 

„        Mr.  John  Cooke „  302 

„        Mr.  Herbert  Gibson „  302 

„        Sir  Alfred  Scale  Haslam „  332 

Diagrams — The    Compression    and    Absorption    Systems    of 

Refrigeration „  334 

„         The  Bell-Coleman  Refrigerating  Machine  ...  .,  336 

Portrait — Professor  Carl  von  Linde „  338 

„        Mr.  T.  B.  Lightfoot „  340 

Diagram — Thermograph  Temperature  Log          ....  „  342 

Insulated  Motor  Van  built  for  the  La  Negra  Works    ...  „  344 

Refrigerated  Steam  Lighter  El  Zarate „  344 

Portrait — Mr.  Gilbert  Anderson .,  352 

„        Sir  Thomas  Borthwick,  Bart „  354 

The  late  Sir  E.  S.  Dawes,  K.C.M.G „  362 

„        Mr.  H.  S.  Fitter „  364 

„        The  late  Mr.  J.  H.  Geddes 366 

„        Mr.  George  Goodsir ,.  368 

„        Captain  H.  E.  Greenstreet „  370 

„        Mr.  Richmond  Keele „  372 

„        The  late  Mr.  E,  L.  Johnson „  374 

„        Sir  E.  M.  Nelson,  K.C.M.G „  376 

„        Mr.  William  Nelson „  378 

The  late  Mr.  G.  F.  Swift ,  386 

„        Mr.  J.  J.  Thomson „  388 

Mr.  William  Weddel  390 


A    HISTORY    OF    THE 
FROZEN    MEAT    TRADE 


CHAPTER  I 

BRITAIN'S  CALL  FOB  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES  :    SHORTAGE  AND 

SURPLUS 

IT  must  be  rather  difficult  for  those  who  are  engaged  in  the 
various  branches  of  the  great  overseas  frozen  meat  trade  to 
realize  that  only  thirty  years  separate  them  from  the  time  of 
the  foundation  of  what  is  now  recognized  as  one  of  the  most 
important  of  the  world's  industries.  A  commerce  that  unites 
continents,  and  is  an  essential  factor  in  the  progress  of  human 
civilization  to-day,  might  well  be  believed  to  be  more  than  a 
generation  old,  but  it  does  not  need  a  student  of  history  to  recall 
that  this  is  not  the  case. 

The  industry  that  hangs  on  the  slender  piston-rod  of  a 
refrigerating  machine,  yet  feeds  nations  with  a  regularity  that 
defies  famine,  had  its  birth  within  the  recollection  of  many 
who  are  not  yet  old.  The  great  changes  it  has  wrought  in  the 
world  during  the  first  three  decades  of  its  existence  make  all 
the  more  interesting  some  preliminary  inquiry  into  the  circum- 
stances which  led  to  its  establishment. 

Before  coming  to  the  conditions  which  directly  gave  rise  to 
and  immediately  preceded  the  refrigerated  meat  industry,  it 
may  be  well  to  deal  somewhat  fully  with  two  subjects  not 
completely  bearing  upon  the  title  of  this  book,  though  not  by 
any  means  foreign  to  it,  (1)  the  dwindling  flocks  and  herds  in 

F.M.  B 


2      A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Great  Britain  for  some  decades  prior  to  the  frozen  meat  era  ; 
and  (2)  the  canned  meat  industry  in  Australasia.  This  trade 
represented  the  first  attempts  of  the  colonists  to  ship  beef  and 
mutton  to  the  old  country,  and  was  the  evolutionary  form  of 
the  great  meat  industry,  the  real  and  lasting  development  of 
which  was  to  be  the  preservation  and  export  of  meat  under 
conditions  of  refrigeration. 

A  Nation's  Need. 

It  was,  of  course,  the  demand  for  greater  meat  supplies  that 
called  for  the  discovery  of  some  means  for  the  safe  delivery  of 
those  supplies.  The  uneasiness  that  was  felt  respecting  the  food 
supply  in  England  became  very  marked  by  the  early  fifties, 
and  the  gradual  growth  of  the  manufacturing  industries  made 
it  clear  that  Great  Britain  must  be  an  increasingly  important 
meat  consumer.  Manufacturing  demanded  energetic,  flesh-fed 
men,  but  meat  supplies  and  their  prices  were  on  a  most  unsatis- 
factory basis  for  a  generation  before  the  establishment  of  the 
great  overseas  dead  meat  trade. 

Official  statistics  of  the  flocks  and  herds   of   the  United 

Kingdom  at  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century  do  not  exist ; 

in  fact,  no  official  enumeration  of  live  stock  was  made  in  the 

United  Kingdom  before  1867.    But  the  estimates  of  Mulhall 

and  McCulloch  were,  no  doubt,  fairly  accurate.      According 

to  Mulhall,  in  the  ten  years  1851 — 1860,  the  decade  in  which 

meat  imports  were  first  brought  into  the  United  Kingdom, 

the  average  production  of  meat — beef,  mutton,  and  pork — in 

England,  Scotland,  and  Ireland  was  910,000  tons,  which  gave 

72  Ibs.  per  head  per  annum  ;  this  was  supplemented  by  an 

average  import  of  live  cattle  furnishing  44,000  tons,  making 

in  all  75  Ibs.  of  meat  per  head  of  population  yearly.     In  the 

1861 — 1870  decade  the  average  home  production  of  meat  had 

increased  to  1,036,000  tons,  and  imported  meat  to  131,000 

tons.     It  is  significant  that  the  home  production   of   these 

meats  showed  no  increase  from  that  point  up  to  the  days  of 

the  beginnings  of  frozen  meat  imports.     In  the  year  1882  the 

home  production  was  1,090,000  tons,  and  the  Continental  and 


IWITAIN'S  CALL  FOR  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES        3 

overseas  supplies  had  grown  to  654,000  tons  ;  these  quantities 
yielded  a  per  capita  annual  supply  of  meat  equal  to  110  Ibs., 
<>:  which  the  imported  supply  claimed  43  Ibs.  The  home- 
produced  meat  in  1882  consisted  of  690,000  tons  of  beef, 
305,000  tons  of  mutton,  and  95,000  tons  of  pork,  and  the 
imported  meat  was  still  mainly  in  the  form  of  live  cattle  and 
sheep.  The  population  of  the  United  Kingdom  in  1851 — 1860 
averaged  28,265,000,  and  had  grown  by  1882  to  35,606,000." 

The  following  totals  of  the  food  animals  of  the  United  King- 
dom— cattle,  sheep,  and  pigs  together — may  be  useful  as  a 
record  and  as  showing  the  decline  in  home  stocks  between  1867 
and  1880,  the  arrest  of  that  fall,  and  restoration  to  the  figures 
of  1867,  brought  about  by  the  importation  of  live  and  dead 
meat  in  the  period  of  thirty  years  up  to  1910  : — 

1851—1855  ....  40,676,000  (Mulhall) 

1867 46,770,524  (official) 

1880 42,974,261 

1910 46,491,521 

So,  prior  to  the  introduction  of  frozen  meat,  supplies  of  home 
stock  were  being  overtaken  by  consumption,  and  it  was  plain 
that  the  inhabitants  of  England  would  have  to  be  content 
with  less  meat  or  pay  fancy  prices  for  it,  or  arrange  for  largely 
increased  supplies  of  dead  meat  to  be  brought  across  the  seas 
to  be  sold  at  a  moderate  price. 

Mulhall  helps  us  again  in  showing  how,  with  stagnant  home 
supplies  of  meat,  the  price  advanced.  In  the  ten  years 
1851 — 1860,  the  "  average  "  of  the  wholesale  "  prices  "  of  first 
quality  meat — beef,  mutton,  and  pork  together — was  6%d. 
per  lb.,  during  the  next  decade  it  had  risen  to  Id.  per  lb.,  and 
in  1882  the  "  price  "  was  8|d.  per  lb.  A  parliamentary  return 
issued  in  1911  gives  the  following  average  prices  for  beef  of 
first  quality  :— 1851,  4jrf.  per  lb. ;  1861,  6fd.  per  lb. ;  1871, 
Sd.  per  lb. ;  and  1881,  8±d.  per  lb. 

It  is  interesting  to  examine  the  meat  import  movement  into 
the  United  Kingdom  of  the  last  fifty  years.  For  the  quin- 
quennial period  1861 — 1865  the  average  quantity  of  fresh  beef, 

•  9 


4,      A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

mutton,  and  pork  imported  amounted  to  only  0*1  Ib.  per 
head  of  the  population.  The  coming  of  frozen  meat  in  1880  sent 
up  the  average  imports  for  1881 — 1885  to  3'5  Ibs.  For  the 
five  years  1891 — 1895  the  average  imports  were  12'4  Ibs.,  and 
for  1906 — 1910  each  unit  of  the  population  was  provided  for 
to  the  extent  of  28  Ibs.  of  fresh  meat  imported  from  British 
possessions  and  foreign  countries. 

Harking  back  to  the  days  of  1850-1860,  the  difficulty  that 
lay  ahead  had  not  escaped  official  notice,  for  about  1860  the 
Privy  Council  discussed  the  question  of  the  national  food  supply, 
and  numbers  of  societies  and  institutions  followed  the  lead  thus 
given.  In  1863  the  Privy  Council  laid  down  a  rule  "  that,  to 
avoid  starvation  diseases,  the  weekly  food  of  an  average  adult 
must  contain  28,600  grains  of  carbon  and  1,300  grains  of 
nitrogen."  Dr.  Brown,  in  "  The  Food  of  the  People,"  published 
in  1865,  wrote  :  "  The  plague  spot,  the  skeleton  in  the  closet 
of  England,  is  that  her  people  are  underfed."  This  condition 
of  things  was  accompanied  by  the  abuse  which  one  would 
expect,  terrible  and  shameless  adulteration,  and  the  poor  were 
further  defrauded  by  traders  giving  short  weight. 

The  most  practical  step  in  the  direction  of  providing  a  more 
ample  food  supply  was  the  formation  of  a  committee  of 
the  Society  of  Arts,  which  first  met  on  December  21,  1866. 
Amongst  those  present  were  Messrs.  H.  C.  E.  Childers,  M.P., 
Harry  Chester,  W.  Ewart,  M.P.,  Benjamin  Shaw,  and  Lord 
Robert  Montagu,  M.P.  As  early  as  1853  Mr.  Chester,  in 
delivering  the  centenary  address  of  the  Society,  asked  why 
Australia  should  be  content  with  exporting  wool  and  tallow, 
"  and  not  the  mutton  itself  to  the  hungry  masses  of  this 
country  ?  "  The  proceedings  at  the  committee's  meetings 
make  most  interesting  reading.  The  committee  subdivided 
itself  into  four  sections  :  meat,  milk,  fish,  and  cooking.  That 
was  the  time  when  canned  meats  were  on  their  trial.  Mr.  C.  G. 
Tindal,  Mr.  Robert  Tooth,  Mr.  McCall,  and  others,  were  ex- 
amined, and  explained  their  processes.  Dr.  Bancroft's  "  pem- 
mican  "  and  Mr.  Alexander's  powdered  beef  were  tested.  (Both 
these  gentlemen  were  Queenslanders.)  The  committee  found 
that,  weight  for  weight,  the  dried  beef  was  four  times  more 


BRITAIN'S  CALL  FOR  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES        5 

nutritious  than  ordinary  beef.     It  was  stated  that  200  patents 
had  been  registered  for  preserved  meat  processes,  so  widely 
reco^ni'/A'd  was  the  scarcity  of  meat  in  Kn^land.      All  njrts  of 
ideas  were  expounded  to  the  committee.     Medlock  and  Bailey 
averred  that  by  dipping   meat  in   their  bisulphide  of  lime 
solution   "  anything  of    animal  origin,  from  a  beefsteak  to  a 
bullock,  from  a  whitebait  to  a  whale,  can  be  preserved  sweet 
for  months."     Possibly  the  bullock  and  the  whale  might  have 
objected !    C.   Nielson   proposed  to  fix  blood  in  the  form  of 
sausages,    puddings,  cakes,  and  so  on.       The    Rev.    M.    J. 
Berkeley  delivered  a  stirring  address  on  fungi,  but  somehow 
the  mushroom  palliative  failed  to  impress  the  committee  as  a 
substitute  for  the  roast  beef  of  Old  England.     De  la  Peyrouse's 
idea  was  to  pack  meat  in  barrels,  and  to  pour  in  fat  at  a  tempera- 
ture of  300°  F.  all  round  the  stored  viands.     Professor  Gamgee 
loomed  large,  and  his  method,  though  revealing  a  touch  of 
Max  Adeler,  certainly  possessed  genius.     He  suggested  that 
cattle  should  be  happily  dispatched  by  being  made  to  inhale 
carbonic  oxide  gas,  at  a  cost  of  2s.  to  3s.  per  animal.     The 
flesh    of   oxen  so  slain  was  declared  to  retain  its  fresh  and 
bright  appearance,  and  the  committee  reluctantly  and  warily 
tasted  chops  from  a  sheep  killed  in  this  way,  reporting,  doubt- 
less to  the  chagrin  of  the  Professor,  that  the  meat  was  "  slightly 
flat."     A  tin  of  meat  forty-one  years  old,  from  the  stores  of 
H.M.S.    Blonde,    was    tested    and    found    sound.     Professor 
Redwood  advocated  raw  meat  preserved  in  paraffin. 

Scores  of  different  processes  for  tinning  meat  were  tested. 
Dr.  HassalTs  "  Flour  of  Meat,"  Australian  "  mutton  hams," 
meat  dried  by  sulphurous  acid,  and  many  other  inventions, 
were  put  before  this  committee,  evidence  which  contained 
the  germs  of  many  of  the  modern  methods  of  preserving  and 
handling  animal  substances  for  food.  The  committee's  records 
are  packed  with  good  things.  For  instance,  we  hear  of  the 
stimulus  given  to  the  Australian  tinned  meat  trade  by  the 
Franco-German  war.  In  October,  1875,  two  huge  tin-lined 
cases  of  meat  arrived  from  Melbourne,  30  Ibs.  of  meat,  in 
joints,  in  each  case.  The  meat  was  wrapped  in  prepared  calico, 
and  the  whole  packed  in  charcoal.  Alas  !  on  opening,  the 


6      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Melbourne  meat  "  was  found  to  be  in  an  advanced  state  of 
decomposition."  As  far  back  as  1843  the  Society  of  Arts  gave 
its  medal  for  attempts  made  in  Australia  to  render  down  the 
lean  of  meat  by  means  of  the  water  bath  and  the  introduction 
of  the  extract  in  a  solid  form.  Samples  of  this  extract  were 
sent  on  a  voyage  to  Buenos  Aires  and  back,  and  failure 
resulted.  This,  the  authors  believe,  was  the  earliest  attempt 
made  in  Australia  to  preserve  meat  for  export. 

It  was  a  matter  for  regret  that  this  committee  of  the 
Society  of  Arts,  after  a  vigorous  and  most  useful  campaign 
of  fifteen  years,  came  to  a  sudden  stop  in  1881.  In  that 
year  the  committee  delivered  a  gloomy  report,  and  found  itself 
unable  to  award  the  £100  prize  which  Sir  Walter  Trevelyan 
had  presented  for  the  best  means  of  preserving  fresh  meat. 
This  £100  was  disposed  of  by  being  divided  into  five  sums  of 
£20  and  granted  to  food  and  cooking  exhibits  at  the  1884 
Health  Exhibition.  Without  doubt,  the  introduction  of  frozen 
meat  in  1880  settled  the  whole  difficulty  which  the  Society  of 
Arts'  committee  had  spent  so  many  years  in  trying  to  solve, 
and  it  could  only  have  been  blindness  to  facts — the  success  of 
the  Strathleveri's  trial  was  common  knowledge  in  1881 — that 
made  the  committee  in  its  report  neglect  its  obvious  duty 
of  stating  that  the  introduction  of  frozen  meat  removed  all 
its  difficulties.  Emphatically,  Sir  Walter  Trevelyan's  £100 
prize  should  have  been  awarded  to  Thomas  Sutcliffe  Mort,  of 
Sydney,  as  Chapter  II.  of  this  volume  will  show. 

It  may  be  remarked  at  this  point,  where  attention  has  been 
drawn  to  the  necessity  of  Britain,  already  fully  stocked  with 
cattle  and  sheep,  looking  abroad  for  her  further  needful  food 
supplies,  that,  apparently,  France,  Germany,  Austria,  Italy, 
and  Switzerland  are  reaching,  or  have  now  reached,  the  same 
stage  in  their  economic  development.  In  the  early  part  of  the 
twentieth  century  the  peoples  of  these  Continental  countries  are 
making  the  same  investigations  as  to  the  nature  and  source 
of  their  future  imported  meat,  and  entering  upon  the  same 
struggles  in  their  initial  efforts  to  secure  supplies  from  the  lands 
of  the  south,  as  did  the  inhabitants  of  England  in  the  sixties 
and  seventies. 


BRITAIN'S  CALL    I'nR   OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES        7 

Surplus  of  Live  Stock  in  the  Southern  Hemisphere. 

So  much  for  a  nation's  need  and  the  experimental  and  un- 
practical efforts  made  to  relieve  it.  Next  may  be  considered 
the  circumstances  in  the  countries  in  the  Southern  Hemisphere, 
Australia,  New  Zealand,  and  Argentina,  from  which,  to  a 
limited  extent  by  means  of  meat  preservation,  and  eventually 
more  thoroughly  through  refrigeration's  aid,  the  real  relief  was 
to  come. 

In  Australia  and  New  Zealand  in  the  seventies  sheep  had 
increased  so  rapidly  in  number  that  it  was  apparent  that,  as  a 
wool  producer  only,  the  full  value  of  the  animal  was  not  being 
realized.  The  flocks  grew,  the  population  remained  small,  and 
there  was  no  means  of  adequately  dealing  with  the  surplus 
stock.  It  was  in  the  eventful  period  1868  to  1879  that  the 
frozen  meat  trade  had  its  genesis,  when  Harrison  and  Mort  in 
Australia,  and  Tellier  and  Carr6  in  France,  were  experimenting, 
and  when  the  successful  voyage  of  the  Strathleven  set  all  doubts 
at  rest  as  to  whether  the  surplus  meat  of  the  New  World  could 
be  brought  in  a  perfectly  fresh  and  sound  state  to  supply  the 
shortage  in  the  Old. 

Tinned  meat  export  had  been  instituted  in  Australia  prior 
to  the  establishment  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  and  of  this 
collateral  industry  some  brief  particulars  as  to  its  pioneering 
may  be  given  here. 

Apropos  of  meat  tinning  or  canning,  it  is  interesting  to  note 
that  the  first  person  to  preserve  meat  in  closed  jars  by  employ- 
ing heat  was  a  Frenchman,  Appert.  Earliest  mention  of  his 
process  occurred  in  1809.  At  first  glass  bottles  were  used, 
and  soon  afterwards  iron  tins  (English  patent  3,310,  1810, 
H<ine).  The  soldered  tins  made  of  tinplate  were  introduced 
through  the  French  brothers  Pellier  about  1850.  The  great 
German  chemist,  Liebig,  gave  a  lead  to  the  Australian  pioneers 
of  the  canning  industry  by  applying  chemistry  to  the  invention 
of  extract  of  beef.  Replying  to  an  inquiry  as  to  whether 
Liebig  ever  studied  the  problem  of  applying  cold  to  meat 
storage  and  transport,  Dr.  L.  Geret,  of  the  Liebig  Co.'s  scien- 
titir  department,  Antwerp,  reports  that  Liebig  never  considered 


8      A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

refrigeration  in  this  connection.  In  Liebig's  "  Chemical 
Letters  "  (Vol.  XI.,  32nd  letter,  p.  139,  4th  edit.)  he  alludes  to 
the  surplus  cattle  in  Australia  and  the  River  Plate  as  "  merely 
export  material  for  tallow  and  hides  production."  Liebig's 
first  experiments  on  a  commercial  scale  in  the  manufacture  of 
extract  were  carried  out  in  the  River  Plate  about  1863  or  1864. 
Mr.  G.  C.  Giebert  was  the  first  general  manager  in  South 
America  of  the  Liebig's  Extract  of  Meat  Co. 

The  first  men  to  preserve  meat  by  practical  tinning  methods 
in  Australia  were  the  late  Henry  Dangar,  of  the  Hunter  River, 
New  South  Wales,  and  his  brother,  the  late  William  Dangar, 
of  Turanville,  Scone.  Discontented  with  the  wretchedly  low 
values  of  cattle — they  had  sold  a  mob  of  splendid  bullocks  in 
Sydney  for  £2  12s.  Qd.  a  head  in  1846 — Messrs.  Dangar  set 
about  starting  tinning  works.  Towards  the  end  of  1847  they 
began  operations  at  Honeysuckle  Point,  near  Newcastle,  New 
South  Wales.  Mr.  Charles  Gedye  was  manager  ;  the  meat  was 
packed  in  4  Ib.  and  6  Ib.  tins,  and  hermetically  sealed,  the  tins 
being  painted  and  labelled  in  London.  The  meat  (beef, 
mutton,  tongues,  and  soup  and  bouilli)  sold  readily  in  London, 
and  the  Admiralty  took  quantities  of  it.  The  factory  was 
carried  on  with  success — meat  at  first  cost  only  fd.  per  Ib. — but 
the  gold  discoveries  in  1851  raised  the  price  of  cattle  to  such  a 
prohibitive  figure  that  the  works  were  closed  early  in  the 
fifties,  and  now  Honeysuckle  Point  is  covered  with  dwelling- 
houses.  Messrs.  H.  E.  and  M.  Moses,  of  New  South  Wales, 
were  also  canning  meat  about  that  time. 

In  1850  there  were  110  boiling  down  establishments  in 
Australia,  and  the  production  of  tallow  was  enormous.  The 
sheep  slaughtered  for  this  purpose  numbered  800,000,  cattle 
73,000  :  the  tallow  exported  in  that  year  was  close  on  11,000 
tons,  valued  at  £301,000.  At  one  works  (Russell's,  Hunter 
River)  12,000  sheep  were  boiled  down  in  four  weeks.  In  1851 
the  scale  of  boiling  down  enterprise  greatly  increased,  and 
probably  about  10  per  cent,  of  all  the  sheep  in  Australia  fell 
victims  to  this  wasteful  process  in  that  year.  Dr.  Lang,  one 
of  Australia's  ablest  pioneers  in  the  problems  of  public  life, 
religion,  and  education,  inveighed  against  "  this  wholesale  and 


BRITAIN*  CALL  FOR   OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES        9 


enormous  destruction  of  valuable  animal  food  going  on  in  New 
South  Wales  for  eight  years.  .  .  .  Viewed  in  connection  with 
the  fact  that  there  are  millions  '  at  home '  on  the  brink  of 
starvation,  this  destruction  is  discreditable  to  Great  Britain 
ami  her  rulers,  and  cannot  but  be  peculiarly  offensive  in  the 
sight  of  Heaven." 

The  tinning  trade  was  certainly  a  useful  outlet  for  the  surplus 
sheep  and  cattle  in  the  early  days.  A  few  years  before  the 
time  when  the  millions  of  visitors  to  the  Great  Exhibition  of 
1851  were  confronted  with  Australian  tinned  mutton,  cattle 
in  the  grazing  regions  of  Australia  were  worth  only  £2  to  £4  per 
head,  but  the  gold  discoveries  of  1851  proved  a  time  of  blessing 
to  cattle  owners,  prices  then  going  up  to  £8  to  £10  per  head. 
But  the  increasing  flocks  were  ever  a  problem  to  the  Australian 
sheep  farmer.  Boiling  down  for  tallow,  the  earliest  method 
of  supplementing  the  pastoralist's  returns  from  his  wool,  was  a 
crude  system,  with  strict  limitations.  The  following  table 
gives  some  idea  of  how  the  pastoralists  and  graziers  of  Australia 
stood  with  regard  to  their  local  market,  and  why  they  were 
forced  to  find  markets  abroad  : — 


- 

Population. 

Cattle. 

>),..-.;,. 

1851 

403,889 

1,894,834 

15,993,954 

1861 

1,153,973 

3,846,554 

20,135,286 

1871 

1,668,377 

4,277,228 

40,072,955 

1881 

2,252,617 

8,010,991 

65,078,341 

After  Messrs.  Dangar's  meat  tinning  enterprise  of  the 
late  forties,  not  much  appears  to  have  been  done  in  Australia 
till  1865  and  1866.  In  the  former  year  Mr.  Robert  Tooth 
began  making  extract  at  Yengarie,  Queensland,  and  Tooth's 
Extract  of  Meat  Co.  (London  Bridge)  states  that  Messrs. 
Allen  and  Hanbury  were  the  consignees  of  the  first  parcel 
to  be  imported,  on  July  24,  1866.  About  1875  Mr.  Tooth 
retired  from  the  business,  and  devoted  himself  to  sugar 
growing  in  Manila.  Mr.  C.  G.  Tindal,  a  pioneer  in  meat 
preservation,  studied  Liebig's  works  when  he  was  a  young  man, 
and  came  across  a  chemist  at  Clapham  named  Deane,  who  was 


10    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

making  splendid  extract  and  selling  it  at  35s.  per  Ib.  ;  Brady, 
of  Newcastle,  and  Reynolds,  of  Leeds,  were  making  a  cheaper 
extract.  Mr.  Tindal  worked  with  Deane  for  some  time,  and 
then  began  making  Liebig's  extract  of  meat  at  Ramornie,  New 
South  Wales,  on  September  13,  1866.  From  that  year  manu- 
facture and  export  have  been  continuous.  Mr.  Alban  Gee, 
the  present  manager  of  the  Sydney  Meat  Preserving  Co., 
went  out  from  England  to  Ramornie  in  1866,  and  the  late 
Mr.  Thomas  Cordingley  went  to  the  same  place  in  1872.  In 
1875  Mr.  Cordingley  started  preserving  mutton  in  Botany  Bay, 
and  later,  supported  by  Mr.  Tindal,  he  formed  the  North  Queens- 
land Meat  Export  Co.  at  Alligator  Creek,  North  Queensland,  a 
successful  concern  now  working  under  the  management  of  Mr. 
Harold  Cordingley.  Mr.  C.  G.  Tindal,  in  answer  to  an  inquiry, 
writes  as  follows :  "  I  hold  an  autograph  letter  from  Baron 
Liebig  on  the  subject  of  making  his  extract,  which  has  been 
made  use  of  in  two  trials  at  law,  and  which  established  the 
right  of  myself  and  other  makers  to  call  the  extract  we  make 
4  Liebig's  Extract '  throughout  Great  Britain.  But  the  Law 
Courts  on  the  Continent  decided  against  us." 

The  Melbourne  Meat  Preserving  Co.  was  formed  in  1868, 
Mr.  S.  S.  Ritchie,  who  had  been  a  partner  with  Mr.  John 
McCall,  of  London,  being  mainly  instrumental  in  its  establish- 
ment. Messrs.  J.  McCall  and  Co.  were  intimately  associated 
with  the  building  up  of  the  tinned  meat  trade. 

The  Sydney  Meat  Preserving  Co.,  Ltd.,  of  Sydney,  which  was 
a  concern  established  in  1869  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  the 
fluctuation  of  the  price  of  fat  stock  brought  to  the  Sydney 
market,  has  a  paid-up  capital  of  £20,315,  and  reserves  amount- 
ing to  £67,684,  but  no  dividends  are  paid  upon  the  capital.  The 
mode  of  operation  is  for  persons  who  send  stock  to  Flemington, 
Sydney,  to  allow  the  Sydney  Meat  Preserving  Co.  a  rebate  of 
2J  per  cent,  on  its  purchases  ;  this,  in  ordinary  years,  means 
an  eighth  of  a  penny  per  Ib.  The  payment  of  this  rebate  is 
not  a  compulsory  charge,  and  is  not  allowed  by  all  the  persons 
who  sell  stock,  but  all  the  larger  stockowners  allow  the  rebate 
to  the  company.  The  purchases  of  stock  vary,  of  course, 
from  year  to  year,  in  accordance  with  the  condition  of  the 


BRITAIN'S  CALL  FOR   OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES       11 

market ;  if  the  markets  are  good,  very  little  stock  is  purchased. 
The  account  up  to  June  30,  1910,  shows  that  during  tin- 
l»n  \ii.us  half-year  the  company  bought  498,609  sheep  and 
1,472  cattle.  The  stock  purchased  by  the  company  are  killed 
at  its  yards.  None  of  the  meat  is  sold,  but  the  whole  of  the 
carcasses  are  canned  or  turned  into  tallow,  so  that  the  purchases 
of  the  company  do  not  come  into  competition  with  those  of  the 
ordinary  butchers. 

Australian  canned  meat  began  to  be  known  to  the  British 
public  by  the  year  1867.  Before  that  time  preserved  meat 
had  only  been  used  by  the  services,  by  explorers,  and  on 
sailing  ships,  but  it  appealed  to  the  public  very  soon  after 
the  first  imports  came  along — the  Midlands  took  a  great 
fancy  to  it,  and  clamoured  for  it.  Shipments  were  easily 
absorbed.  No  American  meat  of  any  kind  was  imported 
during  the  sixties,  and  Australia  was  the  pioneer  of  the 
tinned  as  she  was  of  the  frozen  meat  trade.  South  American 
tinned  meat  was  first  imported  in  1871.  Boiled  mutton  was 
the  principal  article  turned  out  when  the  business  began,  and 
corned  beef  was  also  shipped.  The  growth  of  this  trade 
was  remarkable ;  in  1867  the  United  Kingdom's  imports  from 
Australia  were  286,526  Ibs.,  in  1868  no  less  than  878,444  Ibs., 
while  in  1869  they  advanced  to  2,000,000  Ibs.  In  1880  Great 
Britain  imported  16,000,000  Ibs.  of  canned  meat. 

The  position  in  New  Zealand  was  much  the  same  as  in  Aus- 
tralia, there  being  a  large  surplus  of  sheep  which  the  small 
population  was  quite  unable  to  deal  with  profitably.  After 
shearing  it  was  not  an  uncommon  thing  for  the  old  and  inferior 
animals  to  meet  the  fate  of  the  Gadarene  swine.  Boiling  down 
works  were  the  first  means  introduced  to  deal  with  this  surplus, 
and  on  many  of  the  stations  in  New  Zealand  are  still  to  be  seen 
the  primitive  plants  erected  for  that  purpose.  There  was,  of 
course,  enormous  waste  ;  the  sheep  were  kept  during  the  flush 
of  grass  in  the  summer  and  then  boiled  down  for  tallow — wool 
and  tallow  were  the  only  products.  All  sorts  of  plans  were 
tried  ;  legs  of  mutton  packed  in  tallow  were  shipped  to  England, 
and  although  the  meat  arrived  in  good  condition,  the  enter- 
prise failed. 


12    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 


The  next  step  was  canning.  About  1869  a  large  company, 
the  New  Zealand  Meat  Preserving  Co.,  established  works 
in  various  districts — Templeton,  Styx,  Kakanui,  Washdyke, 
Green  Island,  and  Woodlands,  in  the  South  Island,  and  in 
a  few  North  Island  centres,  though  at  that  time  the  North 
Island  carried  but  few  sheep.  At  these  works  the  best  joints 
were  preserved,  and  the  rendering  of  tallow  from  the  rest  of 
the  carcass  was  also  carried  on.  Preserving  was  rough  and 
ready,  as  there  was  no  chilling  process  available  to  hold  the 
meat  for  any  time.  All  the  offal  and  the  skin  were  wasted. 
Owing  to  unreliability  of  quality,  the  canning  business  did  not 
pay,  and  all  the  works  were  ultimately  closed  down.  The  sheep 
industry  in  New  Zealand  at  this  period  was  unprofitable  ;  the 
surplus  animals  often  went  for  6d.  or  Is.  per  head,  and,  as  a  rule, 
the  measure  of  value  was  the  skin  on  their  backs.  Various 
attempts  were  made  to  preserve  meat  by  chemical  and  other 
means,  but  were  not  successful,  and  from  1865  to  1882  run- 
holders  in  New  Zealand  had  a  very  bad  time.  It  is  a  matter 
of  great  regret  that  very  few  of  them  were  able  to  stand 
against  the  adverse  conditions  till  the  better  day  brought  by 
the  frozen  meat  export  trade  had  dawned. 

The  population  of  New  Zealand  at  the  start  of  the  frozen 
meat  trade  was  about  500,000,  and  the  statistics  of  New 
Zealand's  herds  and  flocks  from  1851  to  1881  are  as  follow  : — 


- 

Population. 

Cattle. 

Sheep. 

1851 

26,707 

68,000* 

233,043 

1861 

99,021 

193,285 

2,761,383 

1871 

256,393 

436,592 

9,700,629 

1881 

489,933 

698,637 

12,985,085 

*  Approximate. 

The  Real  Genesis  of  Meat  Export. 

Australia  and  New  Zealand  were  not,  of  course,  the  only 
countries  striving  to  "  realize  "  on  their  surplus  live  stock,  and 
the  United  States  of  America  was  the  first  country  to  inaugurate 
a  meat  trade  dependent  on  artificially  cooled  storage  during 


HIUTAIN'S  CALL  FOR  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES      19 

transport.  That  this  was  a  welcome  industry  to  America  goes 
without  saying,  seeing  that  in  1874,  when  beef  was  first 
exported  to  Great  Britain,  cattle  on  farms  in  the  United 
States  of  America  numbered  27,000,000 — the  population  was 
well  under  50,000,000.  Undoubtedly,  the  real  genesis  of  the 
meat  export  trade  under  conditions  of  refrigeration  is  to  be 
found  in  the  shipments  of  chilled  beef  from  the  United  States 
of  America  in  the  seventies ;  by  the  end  of  1880,  when  only 
400  carcasses  of  mutton  had  reached  home  from  Australia,  Great 
Britain  had  imported  from  North  America  120,000  tons  of  fresh 
beef.  (See  pp.  190,  191,  for  other  references  to  this  trade.) 
But  as  the  general  conditions  and  lines  of  development  of  the 
North  American  chilled  beef  trade  were  so  widely  different 
from  those  associated  with  the  Australasian  and  South 
American  frozen  meat  trades,  extended  references  to  it  do  not 
come  within  the  scope  of  this  book. 

Argentina :  The  Problem  of  the  Pampas. 

One  can  go  back  a  long  way  in  tracing  the  introduction  and 
history  of  the  cattle  and  sheep  which  roam  the  pampas  of  the 
Argentine  Republic.  The  progress  of  this  great  industry,  the 
backbone  of  Argentina's  prosperity,  must  have  been  inter- 
woven with  adventure  and  romance ;  of  this  we  get  an 
occasional  glimpse  in  reading  the  scanty  literature  which  may 
be  consulted  by  anyone  wishing  to  acquaint  himself  with  the 
intermediate  steps  between  the  fine  freezing  stock  now  entering 
the  frigorificos  and  the  first  stock  introduced  into  the  Republic, 
which  introduction  took  place  in  the  sixteenth  century. 

One  Captain  Nuflo  Chaves  brought  the  first  sheep  to 
Argentina  in  1550.  As  to  horned  stock,  Juan  de  Salozer  y 
Espinosa  introduced  in  1552  seven  cows  and  one  bull,  which 
are  said  to  have  been  the  foundation  of  the  mighty  herds 
that  are  scattered  over  the  Campo  to-day.  Spanish  colonists 
soon  settled  in  the  Plate  district,  and  Juan  Torre  de  Vega 
y  Aragon,  recognizing  the  suitability  of  the  pampas  for 
stock  breeding,  distributed  4,000  cows  and  bulls  and  4,000 
sheep  amongst  the  colonists.  Soon  the  herds  and  flocks 


14    A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

went  beyond  the  needs  of  the  small  population,  and  even  in 
those  early  days  the  question  of  export  was  mooted  to  relieve 
the  congestion  caused  by  overstocking.  But  the  ideas  of  the 
cattle-owners  did  not  soar  beyond  hides,  to  export  which  to 
Spain  and  Brazil  the  "  Governor  and  Captain  General  of  the 
province  of  the  River  Plate  "  issued  licences.  This  was  the 
position  in  1616,  when  the  ship  Our  Lady  of  Refuge  left  Buenos 
Aires  with  1,281  hides,  valued  at  10,248  reales — about  £117. 
So,  three  hundred  years  ago,  pastoral  products  were  of  little 
account  in  the  River  Plate.  From  the  first  the  herds  and  flocks 
multiplied  enormously,  and  in  the  seventeenth  century  it  was 
recorded  that  "  all  the  wealth  of  these  inhabitants  consists  in 
their  animals,  which  multiply  so  prodigiously  that  the  plains 
are  covered  with  them,  particularly  with  bulls,  cows,  sheep, 
horses,  mares,  mules,  asses,  pigs,  deer,  and  other  sorts,  in  such 
numbers  that,  were  it  not  for  the  dogs  that  devour  the  calves 
and  other  tender  animals,  they  would  devastate  the  country  " 
— a  sort  of  internecine  strife  between  the  animals  that  preceded 
the  latter  day  organized  onslaught  of  the  frigorifico. 

Mr.  Herbert  Gibson,  in  his  book  on  "  The  Sheep  Breeding 
Industry  in  the  Argentine  Republic,"  states  that  "  sheep  were 
neglected  and  despised.  They  were  almost  classed  with  wild 
beasts  and  fowl,  looked  upon  as  public  property,  and  allowed 
to  roam  at  will,  and  increase  or  die  off  as  the  years  were  clement 
or  severe."  They  were  of  two  classes,  the  pampa  sheep, 
descended  from  the  mountain  long- wools  imported  from  Spam, 
and  the  criollo,  the  much  degenerated  descendants  of  the 
Spanish  merinos.  It  is  curious  to  note  that  the  two  great 
sheep  countries  of  the  world,  Australia  and  the  River  Plate, 
introduced  the  improved  Spanish  merino  at  the  same  date. 
In  1794  Don  Manuel  Jose  de  Labarden  exported  ten  rams  and 
twenty  ewes  from  Spain  to  the  Banda  Oriental  (the  old  romantic 
name  for  Uruguay),  which  at  that  time  was  one  of  the  provinces 
of  the  River  Plate  Viceroyalty.  In  1813  Mr.  Henry  Lloyd 
Halsay  imported  100  improved  Spanish  merino  sheep  and 
founded  the  first  fine-woolled  merino  flock  in  the  province  of 
Buenos  Aires.  The  first  introduction  of  English  sheep  took 
place  in  1825,  with  the  purchase  of  thirty  Southdowns,  and 


mUTANTS  CALL  FOR   OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES      15 

the  first  Lincolns  were  imported  in  the  forties.  Particulars 
in  detail  of  British  pedigree  stock  imported  into  Argentina  will 
be  found  on  p.  98. 

Harking  back  to  the  general  position  of  live  stock,  the 
estancieros  had  now  to  consider  how  to  find  an  outlet  for 
the  enormous  herds  of  cattle  and  flocks  of  sheep  that  were 
running  almost  wild  over  the  River  Plate  plains.  Some 
bold  spirits  about  1717  started  a  large  salting  works  at 
Buenos  Aires,  and  the  beef  was  exported.  In  1794  the  live 
stock  breeders  of  Buenos  Aires  and  Monte  Video  presented 
a  petition  to  the  Minister,  Don  Diego  Cardogin,  urging  the 
free  exportation  of  tallow  and  jerked  beef,  the  trade  to  be 
assisted  by  the  introduction  of  "  eight  or  nine  hundred  Irish- 
men, bachelors  and  Roman  Catholics."  In  the  early  eighties 
so  great  was  the  congestion  of  the  sheep  that  in  one  case  a 
flock  was  driven  to  the  coast  and  a  portion  were  precipitated 
over  the  cliffs  into  the  sea.  By  1822  the  export  trade  in  hides, 
tallow,  and  wool,  had  grown  to  a  total  for  the  year  valued  at 
$3,300,000.  We  find  news  of  increasing  quantities  of  salted 
meat  passing  through  the  Buenos  Aires  customs  house  for 
export  from  1862  (357,860  quintals)  to  1866  (430,781  quintals). 

The  importance  of  this  trade  to-day  is  seen  when  it  is 
stated  that  nearly  one-half  of  the  cattle  of  Argentina  depend 
on  the  up-river  saladeros,  where  the  number  slaughtered 
exceeds  the  total  number  handled  at  the  frigorificos — such 
is  the  importance  of  the  Argentine  salted  and  jerked  beef 
business.  The  first  Shorthorns  were  imported  in  1865  by  Don 
Juan  N.  Fernandez — a  historic  event.  The  foundation  of  the 
Argentine  Rural  Society  quickly  followed,  and  marked  the 
systematizing  of  the  laudable  efforts  of  cattle  farmers  who  had 
already  commenced  to  convert  the  primitive  cattle  raising 
business  into  a  well-organized  and  intelligent  pastoral  industry. 
It  was  from  1850  to  1860  that  the  importation  of  pure-bred 
stock  was  started  on  a  commercial  scale  for  the  purpose  of 
improving  the  herds  of  Argentina.  In  1868  the  Government 
of  Argentina  offered  $8,000  for  the  discovery  of  a  practical 
means  of  preserving  fresh  meat,  and  in  1877  the  export  duties 
on  fresh  meat  were  suspended  for  five  years.  In  1882  these 


16     A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

duties  were  abolished.  It  may  be  interesting  to  give  here  the 
figures  of  the  four  official  stock  censuses  that  have  been 
taken  in  Argentina  : — 


Cattle. 

Sheep. 

1875 

1888 
1895 
1908 

13,337,862 
21,963,930 
21,701,526 
29,116,625 

57,501,261 
66,701,097 
74,379,562 
67,211,754 

At  this  stage  of  the  great  Argentine  Republic's  live 
stock  industry,  the  estancieros  perceived  that  the  means 
hitherto  employed  of  dealing  with  the  ever-increasing  surplus 
of  animals  were  both  unscientific  and  obsolete.  Boiling 
down,  the  last  resort  of  the  stock  breeder,  was  found  to 
be  as  unprofitable  as  it  was  wasteful,  and  in  the  seventies 
the  sheep  of  Argentina  had  increased  to  such  an  extent 
that  even  this  desperate  remedy  for  the  accumulating  flocks 
failed  to  dispose  of  the  surplus.  The  saladeros'  profitable 
consumption  of  cattle  was  also  found  to  be  limited.  The  ideal 
before  the  stock  breeders  was  (1)  to  use  their  fat  cattle  and  sheep 
to  good  purpose  financially  ;  (2)  to  handle  the  surplus  in  such 
a  way  as  would  lead  to  a  trade  at  once  permanent  and  increas- 
ing ;  and  (3)  to  see  to  it  that  the  new  outlets  should  involve 
a  steady  improvement  in  the  standard  of  quality  of  the  herds 
and  flocks.  It  was  perceived  that  only  one  avenue  promised 
the  realization  of  these  conditions — the  export  of  the  Republic's 
stock  to  supply  the  needs  of  European  countries,  where 
fat  sheep  and  cattle  were  few  and  men  were  many.  So  in  1874 
the  export  of  live  cattle  and  sheep  began,  and  by  the  end  of 
1879  close  on  1,000,000  head  of  cattle  and  165,000  sheep  had 
been  shipped  away.  On  p.  75  appears  a  full  statement  of  the 
rise  and  fall  of  this  industry. 

The  essay  in  1876  of  the  steamer  Frigorifique,  with  Charles 
Tellier  at  the  helm,  was  possibly  the  stimulus  which  helped 
to  set  going  the  Argentine  frigorificos  on  their  successful 
career.  (But  the  success  of  the  Strathleven  venture  had  more 
to  do  with  it.)  The  steamer  Paraguay,  two  years  later,  with 


BRITAIN'S  CALL  FOR  OVERSEAS  SUPPLIES      17 

frozen  meat  on  board  for  the  Old  World,  kept  the  ball 
rolling,  and  prepared  the  country  for  the  real  start  in  1883 
of  the  great  Argentine  export  trade  in  dead  meat.  When 
the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  at  Campana,  and  Messrs. 
8.  G.  Sanainena  and  Co.,  at  Barracas,  built  their  meat  works, 
the  sheep  of  the  country  were  by  no  means  pretentious. 
"Woollies"  were  purchasable  at  $2  to  $3  a  head.  The 
improvement  of  the  Argentine  sheep  by  the  introduction  of  the 
pun --bred  English  Lincoln  and  other  breeds  was  yet  to  come  ; 
the  average  weight  of  the  frozen  carcass  was  35  Ibs.  This  was 
confirmed  by  the  fact  that  the  Smithfield  salesmen  were  wont 
to  speak  of  the  Argentine  mutton  carcasses  when  they  first 
arrived  as  "  rats."  The  advantage  of  exporting  their  stock 
in  the  form  of  dead  meat,  as  compared  with  the  live  stock  trade, 
was  quickly  appreciated  by  the  cattle  and  sheep  breeders  of 
Argentina,  who  found,  as  the  industry  took  root  and  expanded, 
that  in  the  frozen  meat  trade  they  had  found  a  way  of  dealing 
with  their  stock  at  once  profitable,  economic,  and  scientific. 

As  the  improvement  in  quality,  both  of  sheep  and  cattle, 
became  general,  the  frozen  meat  from  the  Argentine  com- 
manded a  better  price  in  the  home  markets,  and  enabled  the 
freezing  companies  to  outbid  the  live-stock  exporters  even 
before  the  outbreak  of  foot-and-mouth  disease  in  1900  brought 
the  trade  of  the  latter  to  a  termination.  In  subsequent  years 
the  average  prices  paid  for  wethers  and  steers  have  exceeded 
the  highest  ever  obtained  in  the  period  when  the  live-stock 
exporter  competed  with  the  freezer,  and  the  Argentine 
breeder  is  now  persuaded  that  the  dead  meat  trade  is  his 
most  profitable  market.  The  economy  it  represents  is  too 
obvious  to  merit  discussion  ;  the  labour  employed  in  the 
factories,  the  hides,  tallow,  and  offal  that  remain  at  the 
Argentine  end,  the  economy  in  space  and  in  freight,  all  com- 
bine to  secure  for  the  exporting  country  the  maximum 
quantity  of  the  total  value  of  the  animal.  In  the  improved 
methods  of  handling  and  carrying  the  dead  meat,  its  collection 
in  cold  storage  in  the  Argentine  and  its  distribution  in  the 
European  markets,  the  River  Plate  has  achieved  the  most 
scientific  application  of  its  commerce. 

F.M.  c 


CHAPTER  II 

THE   WORK   OF  THE  PIONEERS 

WITH  the  light  of  less  than  four  decades  shining  on  the 
brilliant  achievements  of  those  who  played  the  part  of  pioneers 
in  the  frozen  meat  industry,  the  task  of  according  each  name 
concerned  the  exact  importance  it  bears  in  relation  to  succeed- 
ing progress  is  not  an  easy  one.  For  instance,  while  the  date 
on  which  one  inventor  patented  a  certain  freezing  process  may 
be  prior  to  the  launching  of  a  scheme  by  another,  pioneering 
pride  of  place  may  belong  to  a  third  whose  foresight  of  the 
ultimate  situation  was  clear,  and  whose  early  work,  therefore, 
was  more  material  in  setting  the  industry  on  its  legs. 

The  work  of  the  French  chemist  and  engineer  Carre  must 
always  be  regarded  for  its  early  date  ;  James  Harrison,  whose 
record  of  early  struggle,  achievement,  and  failure,  is  tersely 
recorded  in  a  Geelong  cemetery,  can  never  be  forgotten ;  while 
the  efforts  of  Mort  in  Australia,  and  the  Americans  who 
established  the  earliest  refrigerated  trade  across  the  Atlantic, 
must  have  a  pre-eminence  of  their  own. 

Thomas  Sutcliffe  Mort. 

The  figure  of  Thomas  Sutcliffe  Mort  stands  out  boldly 
amongst  all  the  pioneers  and  experimenters  in  Australia  and 
elsewhere  whose  efforts  laid  the  foundations  of  the  frozen 
meat  trade.  Mr.  Mort  cheerfully  spent  a  large  fortune  in 
experimental  enterprises  in  practical  meat  freezing,  and  his 
conception  of  the  future  that  awaited  the  industry  was 
prophet-like,  so  sympathetic  and  keen  was  his  grasp  of  the 
subject — as  will  be  seen  in  reading  the  sentences  extracted 
from  his  speech,  which  are  given  below. 

Mr.  Mort  was  born  at  Bolton,  Lancashire,  on  December  23, 
1816,  emigrating  to  Australia  in  1838,  and  later  founding  the 


IHMMVS   M-I-I  IIKKK.    M"l:l,    AM>  TH*  8TATVE   ERElTED  TO   HIS  MEMORY   AT  SYDNEY. 

faff  p.  18. 


THE  WORK  OF  THE   PIONEERS  19 

great  financial  and  wool-broking  firm  of  Mort  and  Co.  This  firm 
afterwards  amalgamated  with  that  of  R.  Goldsbrough  and  Co., 
Ltd.,  under  the  name  of  Goldsbrough,  Mort  and  Co.,  Ltd.  As 
early  as  1843  Mr.  Mort  turned  his  attention  to  meat  matters, 
and  was  later  introduced  by  Mr.  Augustus  Morris  to 
the  French  engineer  Nicolle.  The  pair  took  up  the  subject  of 
freezing  meat  for  export,  and  experiments  were  conducted, 
Mort  supplying  the  capital  and  Nicolle  the  engineering  skill. 
Partial  freezing,  "  chilling,"  Telh'er's  plan,  was  tried  and  re- 
jected, as  it  was  soon  realized  that  thorough  congealing  was 
far  preferable  for  the  proper  preservation  of  meat.  Mr.  Mort  in 
1861  established  at  Darling  Harbour,  Sydney,  the  first  freezing 
works  in  the  world.  Thirteen  years  later  Mr.  Mort's  company 
became  the  New  South  Wales  Fresh  Food  and  Ice  Co.  The 
original  freezing  process  at  these  works  was  applied  in  two 
large  apartments,  each  about  75  feet  square  and  9  feet  9  inches 
high,  and  enclosed  by  brick  walls  4  feet  6  inches  thick.  The 
freezing  room  below  was  used  for  the  treatment  of  meat  for 
export.  In  1875  the  collateral  enterprise,  the  slaughtering 
works  at  Lithgow  Valley,  Blue  Mountains,  was  completed  : 
the  two  establishments  were  intended  to  supply  the  Sydney 
market.  Ammonia  compression  refrigerating  machinery  was 
used  at  these  works. 

At  an  inaugural  lunch  on  September  2,  1875,  at  which  300 
persons  attended,  including  Sir  John  Hay,  the  Hon.  J.  Docker, 
Sir  Saul  Samuel,  the  Hon.  (afterwards  Sir)  John  Robertson,  and 
Mr.  (afterwards  Sir)  Henry  Parkes,  Mr.  Mort  made  his  famous 
speech,  the  peroration  of  which  stands  out  as  a  white  stone  in 
the  annals  of  the  Australian  meat  trade,  clearly  showing  him 
to  have  been  a  man  of  imagination,  noble  aims,  and  high 
character.  Mr.  Mort  in  this  speech  said  that  Mr.  Morris  first 
suggested  the  "  diabolical  idea  "  of  freezing  meat  to  send  to 
England.  "  I  can  tell  you  that  not  once  but  a  thousand  times 
have  I  wished  that  Mr.  Morris,  Mr.  Nicolle,  and  myself  had 
never  been  born."  Mr.  Mort  mentioned  that  the  Sydney 
Chamber  of  Commerce  about  1867  had  put  up  a  sum  of  money 
for  him  to  provide  meat  for  distribution  in  England,  and  to 
overcome  the  English  prejudice  against  "  frozen  "  meat.  (This 

•  i 


20     A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

reads  curiously,  for  in  1867  not  an  ounce  of  (mechanically) 
frozen  meat  had  reached  England  !)  The  meat  upon  which 
Mr.  Mort  feasted  his  300  was,  of  course,  all  frozen,  and  he  stated 
that  some  of  it  had  been  kept  since  June,  1874.  He  told  his 
guests  that  Australia  was  destined  to  become  the  great  feeder 
of  Europe. 

"  Before  long  France  and  England  will  look  to  us  almost 
entirely  for  their  supply  of  food."  Mr.  Mort  suggested  the 
breeding  of  Highland  cattle,  as  this  breed  secured  top  prices 
in  English  markets.  Mr.  Mort's  classic  peroration  must  be 
given  verbatim. 

"  I  feel,  as  I  have  always  felt,  that  there  is  no  work  on  the 
world's  carpet  greater  than  this  in  which  I  have  been  engaged. 
Yes,  gentlemen,  I  now  say  that  the  time  has  arrived — at  all 
events,  is  not  far  distant — when  the  various  portions  of  the 
earth  will  each  give  forth  their  products  for  the  use  of  each  and 
of  all ;  that  the  over-abundance  of  one  country  will  make  up 
for  the  deficiency  of  another  ;  the  superabundance  of  the 
year  of  plenty  serving  for  the  scant  harvest  of  its  successor  ;  for 
cold  arrests  all  change.  Science  has  drawn  aside  the  veil,  and 
the  plan  stands  revealed.  Faraday's  magic  hand  gave  the 
keynote,  and  invention  has  done  the  rest.  Climate,  seasons, 
plenty,  scarcity,  distance,  will  all  shake  hands,  and  out  of  the 
commingling  will  come  enough  for  all,  for  '  the  earth  is  the 
Lord's  and  the  fulness  thereof,'  and  it  certainly  lies  within 
the  compass  of  man  to  ensure  that  all  His  people  shall  be 
partakers  of  that  fulness.  God  provides  enough  and  to  spare 
for  every  creature  He  sends  into  the  world ;  but  the  conditions 
are  often  not  in  accord.  Where  the  food  is,  the  people  are  not ; 
and  where  the  people  are,  the  food  is  not.  It  is,  however,  as 
I  have  just  stated,  within  the  power  of  man  to  adjust 
these  things,  and  I  hope  you  will  all  join  with  me  in  believing 
that  the  first  grand  step  towards  the  accomplishment  of  this 
great  deed  is  in  that  of  which  you  yourselves  have  this  day 
been  partakers  and  witnesses." 

Mr.  Mort  is  supposed  to  have  spent  £80,000  in  connection 
with  his  freezing  experiments,  and  £20,000  besides  was  put 
up  by  Australian  squatters  for  a  trial  shipment  to  England 


nil.    WORK    OF  THE   PIONEERS  21 

about  1876,  for  which  the  sailing  ship  Northnm  was  chartered. 
Mr.  Andrew  Mcliwraith,  who  happened  to  be  in  Sydney  at  the 
time  the  vessel  was  being  fitted  with  an  ammonia  installation 
similar  to  that  used  on  land,  supplies  for  these  pages  the 
following  special  account  of  this  historic  effort : — 

"  We  found  that  a  considerable  space  in  the  square  of  the 
main  hatch  had  been  bulkheaded  off  as  a  meat  chamber.  The 
insulation  consisted  of  a  15-inch  space  between  two  bulkheads 
run  in  with  tallow,  and  inside  the  chamber  the  cold  brine  pipes 
were  fixed.  It  occurred  to  us  as  we  went  round  that  there 
was  a  danger  of  destruction  to  the  meat  in  having  the  pipes  in 
the  chamber,  should  the  movement  of  the  ship  strain  the  pipes 
and  a  leakage  occur,  and,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  that  is  what  took 
place,  but  fortunately  before  the  vessel  left  the  harbour." 

The  meat  had  to  be  discharged,  thus  making  an  end  of  the 
experiment  before  it  had  really  begun.  This  failure  was  a 
terrible  blow  to  Mr.  Mort,  and  hastened  his  death.  He  died  at 
Bodalla,  New  South  Wales,  in  1878,  and  to  his  memory  a 
monument  was  erected  by  public  subscription.  Had  Mort 
spent  less  time  in  research  work  on  the  mechanical  side  of 
refrigeration,  his  actual  achievement  in  starting  the  new  trade 
might  have  been  greater.  There  were  many  engineers  working 
out  the  scientific  problems  in  Europe  at  the  time,  and  had  Mort 
depended  on  their  labours  rather  than  spending  his  time 
experimenting  along  with  Nicolle,  it  is  possible  that  the  commer- 
cial beginning  of  the  trade  might  have  been  in  1876  instead  of 
1879. 

Before  passing  to  another  pioneering  record  a  word  may  be 
said  about  Mr.  Mort's  associate,  Eugene  Dominique  Nicolle. 
Mr.  Nicolle  was  born  at  Rouen  in  1824,  visited  Australia  in 
1853,  and  became  manager  for  the  well-known  Sydney 
house,  P.  N.  Russell  and  Son.  In  the  days  when  Mort 
and  Nicolle  were  actively  engaged  in  overcoming  the  diffi- 
cult ies  of  meat  and  provision  export  (1860  to  1877),  ice  was 
imported  from  America,  and  Mr.  Nicolle  did  interesting  work  in 
running  a  factory  at  Darlinghurst  for  the  manufacture  of  ice  by 
chemical  process.  As  a  preliminary  to  the  placing  on  board 
ship  of  a  freezing  machine  to  be  used  for  the  frozen  meat  trade 


22      A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

contemplated  by  Mr.  Mort  and  himself,  Mr.  Nicolle  erected  a 
special  chamber  at  the  back  of  the  Royal  Hotel,  George  Street, 
Sydney,  where  the  process  was  tested  for  fifteen  months. 
Negotiations  were  first  opened  up  with  the  owner  of  the  well- 
known  trader  Whampoa,  but  fell  through  when  it  was  heard 
that  liquefied  ammonia  was  to  be  the  freezing  agent.  In  the 
same  year  as  Mr.  Mort  died,  Mr.  Nicolle  retired  from  busi- 
ness and  settled  on  Lake  Illawarra,  where  he  died  a  com- 
paratively short  time  ago. 

James  Harrison. 

James  Harrison,  another  Briton  who  made  Australia  the 
scene  of  pioneer  work  in  meat  freezing  and  also  in  the  manu- 
facture of  ice,  was  born  in  Glasgow  in  1816,  the  same  year 
as  Mort  first  saw  the  light.  That  Harrison  deserves  place  as 
one  of  the  pioneers,  if  not  the  pioneer,  of  the  frozen  meat  trade 
admits  of  no  shadow  of  doubt.  In  an  article  in  the  Melbourne 
Age  (of  which  important  journal  Harrison  was  editor  for 
some  time),  written  in  1893,  at  the  time  of  his  death,  on 
September  3,  1893,  aged  77,  at  Geelong,  occurs  this  passage  : 
"It  is  a  striking  proof  of  his  insight  that  he  was  the  first  to 
see  the  enormous  source  of  wealth  that  lies  still  undeveloped 
in  the  export  of  meat  from  the  Australian  pastures.  The  very 
industry  which  Mr.  Russell  tells  us  has  pulled  New  Zealand 
out  of  the  shoals  into  calm  water  was  receiving  Mr.  Harrison's 
strenuous  advocacy  thirty  years  ago."  Long  before  the  year 
indicated  by  the  Age  (1863)  Harrison  was  not  only  "  advo- 
cating "  but  busily  experimenting  with  his  ice-making 
machinery. 

He  emigrated  to  Sydney  about  1837.  In  1840  he  settled  at 
Geelong,  "  Australia  Felix," — as  Victoria  was  styled  in  the  early 
days — taking  up  journalism,  and  in  1850,  having  some  leisure, 
devoted  himself  to  the  working  out  of  an  ice-making  scheme. 
He  acquired  land  at  Rodey  Point,  on  the  Barwon,  and  there 
erected  his  first  ice  factory  at  a  cost  of  £1,000.  In  1851  the 
brewing  firm  of  Glasgow  and  Co.,  Bendigo,  installed  a  refri- 
gerator of  the  Harrison  type.  This  was  the  world's  pioneer 
of  such  machines.  Perceiving  that  the  works  were  too  small 


.i  \\ii.s  IIAI;I:I-IN. 


MOM   MKM      I"     IVMK.S    HAKIilMiN     IN    G  KMKIKKY. 


I'u   f'.i,;-  />. 


THE   WORK   OF  THE   PIONEERS  !»:* 

to  make  a  commercial  profit,  Harrison  travelled  to  London  in 
1857.  His  two  first  English  patents  (see  Appendix)  are 
dated  March  28,  1856,  and  September  10,  1857  ;  two  years 
previously  the  machine  had  been  patented  in  Australia.  He 
had  corresponded  with  Faraday  and  Tyndall,  and  discussed 
freezing  problems  with  those  distinguished  men.  He  also  got 
into  touch  with  Siebe  Brothers,  who  had  a  jobbing  foundry  in 
Red  Lion  Court,  Holborn,  and  Mr.  Siebe  made  a  large  machine 
for  him,  which  was  taken  to  Hobson's  Bay  in  the  ship  Tricolor 
on  Harrison's  return  to  Australia.  It  may  be  mentioned  that 
Mr.  H.  J.  West,  an  early  inventor  of  refrigerating  machinery 
and  founder  of  the  firm  of  refrigerating  engineers  which  bore 
his  name,  was  manager  of,  and  later  a  partner  in,  the  firm  of 
Siebe  Brothers,  and  knew  Mr.  Harrison  well.  Mr.  West  died 
in  1910. 

On  his  return  to  Australia  Harrison  devoted  himself  specially 
to  meat  freezing,  and  before  attempting  export  he  experi- 
mented in  the  preservation  of  meat  for  lengthy  periods  on  land. 
At  Melbourne,  about  1873,  he  publicly  exhibited  his  cold-pro- 
ducing machine,  and  by  its  means  several  carcasses  of  sheep, 
sides  of  beef,  poultry,  fish,  etc.,  were  frozen,  and  six  months 
afterwards  these  viands  were  consumed  at  a  public  banquet. 

Like  Mort,  three  years  later,  James  Harrison  failed  when  he 
put  his  process  of  meat  preservation  to  the  test  of  sea  voyage, 
and  the  failure  mined  him.  All  the  profits  of  his  newspaper 
were  eaten  up  in  his  experiments  and  by  the  disaster  which 
befel  the  shipment  when  the  20  tons  of  mutton  and  beef  placed 
on  board  the  s.s.  Norfolk  went  bad  on  the  journey  to  London. 
The  vessel  sailed  in  July,  1873,  from  Sandridge  Railway  Pier, 
Melbourne ;  the  meat  had  been  frozen  on  board  in  "two  tanks," 
ice  and  salt  freezing  mixture  being  used  to  effect  the  refrigera- 
tion of  the  cargo.  The  tanks  leaked,  and  when  the  vessel 
arrived  at  London  in  October  the  meat  was  unsaleable.  This 
terrible  blow,  no  doubt,  crushed  the  inventor's  spirit,  as  it 
ruined  his  fortunes,  for  he  soon  sought  retirement  in  London, 
where  he  spent  some  years  in  scientific  study. 

The  refrigerating  machine  of  Harrison's  which  was  put  to 
work  in  a  paraffin  factory  in  England  in  1860  was  probably 


24     A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  first  refrigerating  plant  ever  applied  to  a  manufacturing 
process,  though  the  Americans  state  that  Professor  Twining, 
about  the  same  time,  had  an  ether  machine  at  work  at  Cleve- 
land, Ohio.  The  Patent  Office  is  probably  the  best  guide  to 
settle  priority  in  inventions,  and,  according  to  this,  Harrison, 
excepting  Perkins,  whose  1834  patent  never  seems  to  have  got 
beyond  Chancery  Lane,  was  years  ahead  of  all  rivals  ;  Carre 
was  four  years  after  him,  Tellier  eight  years,  Mort  eleven, 
Little  twelve,  Pictet  thirteen,  and  Postle  seventeen  years  later, 
according  to  London  Patent  Office  records.  The  accompanying 
reproduction  of  a  photograph  of  the  inscription  on  James 
Harrison's  tomb  at  Geelong  tells  briefly  the  story  of  the  man's 
great  work. 

Mr.  J.  D.  Postle  must  be  numbered  among  Australian 
pioneers  as  an  experimenter,  about  1869,  at  Melbourne  with 
the  chilling  of  meat  by  means  of  an  air  compression  machine. 
Evidence  of  the  early  spread  of  enterprise  in  the  new  industry 
is  afforded  by  the  fact  that  the  Melbourne  Australasian  from 
1868  to  1880  contained  a  great  mass  of  correspondence  dealing 
with  the  earliest  days  of  meat  freezing  and  the  merits  of  the 
various  systems  of  refrigeration. 

The  Bell-Coleman  Machine. 

The  name  "  Bell-Coleman  "  must,  where  meat  freezing  is 
concerned,  ever  remain  an  honoured  one  in  the  two  hemispheres, 
for  it  was  through  the  agency  of  a  Bell-Coleman  refrigerating 
machine  that  there  was  landed  in  London  early  in  1880  the 
first  shipment  of  fresh  meat  ever  successfully  carried  from 
Australia.  In  the  career  of  Mr.  (now  Sir)  Henry  Bell  is 
contained  the  history  of  this  and  other  pioneering  efforts  in 
meat  refrigeration,  and  some  account  of  his  early  work  has 
proper  place  here. 

Mr.  Bell's  first  connection  with  meat  refrigeration  was  when, 
early  in  1877,  he  took  up  the  Glasgow  agency  of  the  dressed 
beef  shipping  business  from  New  York  established  by  Mr.  T.  C. 
Eastman.  To  Mr.  Eastman,  by  the  way,  must  be  given  the 
credit  of  having  first  introduced  chilled  meat  into  Great  Britain 
(vide  a  personal  note  below).  The  refrigerating  process 


THE   W(WK    01    THE   PIONEERS  IT* 

then  used  consisted  in  allotting  25  per  cent,  of  the  whole 
of  the  space  occupied  to  an  ice-container  and  filling  the 
latter  with  blocks  of  natural  ice,  circulating  through  the  ice  a 
current  of  air  by  means  of  a  fan.  A  modification,  or  rather 
elaboration,  of  this  plan  was  patented  by  a  Dr.  Craven,  and 
adopted  for  cooling  the  shipments  of  a  Mr.  Gillette,  who  sent 
meat  across  the  Atlantic  by  some  other  lines  of  steamships. 
Dr.  Craven's  method  consisted  in  using  ice  and  salt,  by  means 
of  which  a  lower  temperature  could  be  obtained  than  by  ice 
alone,  and  this  freezing  mixture  was  used  to  cool  brine  cir- 
culated in  pipes  in  the  vessels'  holds. 

Seeing  the  costly  nature  of  iced  transport,  in  which  a  quarter 
of  the  space  paid  for  was  not  available  for  the  meat  cargo,  to 
say  nothing  of  the  boats  sometimes  arriving  with  all  their  ice 
melted,  Mr.  Henry  Bell  and  his  brother  James  (now  Sir  James) 
Bell  set  themselves  to  study  all  the  available  literature  on 
mechanical  refrigeration,  and  decided  in  their  own  minds  that 
refrigeration  by  means  of  cold  dry  air  was  the  method  most 
suitable  for  use  on  board  ship.  They  approached  Sir  William 
Thomson  (afterwards  Lord  Kelvin),  who  was  then  a  professor 
at  Glasgow  University,  and  asked  his  advice  as  to  whether  it 
was  practicable  to  use  that  method  for  the  transport  of  meat. 
The  professor  said  he  thought  it  was,  but  that  it  would  prove 
too  costly,  promising,  however,  to  look  into  the  subject  if 
they  would  supply  him  with  data  as  to  the  quantities  to  be 
carried.  When  he  found  that  the  figures  were  large,  he  agreed 
that  there  was  a  future  in  the  business,  but  he  added  that  he 
was  too  busy  to  take  it  up.  This  incident  probably  indicates 
how  near  Lord  Kelvin's  name  was  to  becoming  a  household 
word  in  commercial  refrigeration.  The  Glasgow  professor 
said,  further,  that  he  would  introduce  the  brothers  Bell  to  a 
Mr.  J.  J.  Coleman,  and  with  the  latter  gentleman  Messrs.  Bell 
formed  a  partnership  under  the  name  of  the  Bell-Coleman 
Mechanical  Refrigeration  Co.,  and  took  out  patents  in  1877, 
the  first  being  dated  June  of  that  year. 

The  first  ship  on  which  Messrs.  Bell  and  Coleman  fitted  their 
machine  was  the  s.s.  Circassia,  of  the  Anchor  Lane,  in  the 
American  trade,  in  the  spring  of  1879,  but  in  order  to  su 


26     A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

the  world  that  they  could  bring  meat  across  the  ocean  they 
fitted  up  in  the  engineering  works  of  Messrs.  D.  and  W.  Hender- 
son and  Co.,  of  Glasgow,  a  space  similar  to  the  'tween  decks  of 
an  ordinary  steamer,  and  therein  put  meat  and  kept  it  chilled 
for  ninety  days,  subsequently  bringing  it  up  to  Smithfield 
market  and  selling  it  there.  That  consignment  was  kept  at 
a  temperature  of  30°  F. ;  the  cattle  were  slaughtered  close  to 
the  chilling  chamber,  and  the  meat  was  not  moved  after  it 
was  put  into  the  chamber,  never  being  actually  frozen.  All 
through  1878  and  1879  the  inventors  were  receiving  meat 
from  the  United  States  on  Mr.  Eastman's  account,  cooled  by 
freezing  mixture. 

Queen  Victoria's  Approval, 

Although  it  is  only  an  incident,  it  is  worth  mentioning  here 
that  as  early  as  1875  American  chilled  beef  met  with  Royal 
approval.  The  following  information  received  from  Mr.  F. 
Link,  of  the  Central  Markets,  forms  an  interesting  and  a  Royal 
reminiscence  : — 

"  Mr.  T.  C.  Eastman  was  the  shipper,  from  New  York  in 
October,  1875,  of  the  first  lot  of  American  chilled  beef,  and  to 
him  must  be  given  the  credit  and  honour  of  this  innovation, 
undertaken  at  considerable  risk  and  expense  to  himself.  A 
baron  of  that  beef  was  sent  to  Queen  Victoria  at  Windsor 
Castle,  and  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  have  the  Royal  Seal  in  connection 
with  that  transaction.  The  Queen  pronounced  the  meat '  very 
good.'  The  shippers  of  this  early  American  chilled  beef 
included  Toffee  Brothers,  Gillette  (Jersey  City),  Martin  Fuller 
(Philadelphia),  and  Sherman  (Philadelphia),  and  Mr.  J.  D. 
Link  acted  as  agent  for  Mr.  Eastman  up  to  the  time  when 
Messrs.  John  Bell  and  Sons  took  over  the  agency." 

Charles  Tellier. 

Having  recounted  the  early  efforts  of  Mort  and  Harrison  in 
Australia,  one  is  tempted  to  proceed  at  once  to  a  description 
of  the  first  frozen  meat  shipment  successfully  finding  its  way 
from  those  shores  to  the  Mother  Country.  It  must  not  be 
forgotten,  however,  that  refrigerating  experiments  were  being 


I 

i 

5 


THE  WOHK    <>F  THE   PIONEERS  27 

carried  on  elsewhere,  and  it  is  well  to  review  the  part  played 
by  such  a  scientist  and  engineer  as  the  Frenchman,  Charles 
Tellier,  who  was  responsible  for  a  shipment  of  meat  brought 
at  a  chilling  temperature  from  Buenos  Aires  to  Rouen  as  early 
as  1877,  this  being  in  fact  the  first  meat  cargo  shipped  through 
the  tropics  under  refrigeration.  Tellier  was  the  inventor 
of  an  ammonia-absorption  refrigerating  machine  as  early  as 
1859,  and  in  1867  he  produced  an  ammonia-compression 
refrigerating  plant.  M.  Tellier's  first  essay  at  shipping  meat 
under  refrigeration  was  in  1868.  Financially  supported  by 
Mr.  Francisco  Lecocq,  of  Monte  Video,  he  put  an  ammonia 
compression  machine  into  the  City  of  Rio  de  Janeiro.  He 
shipped  300  kilos  of  beef  from  London  to  that  city  as  a  test, 
the  intention  being  on  the  homeward  journey  to  import  meat 
from  Uruguay  into  France.  But  twenty-three  days  out  an 
irreparable  accident  occurred  to  the  apparatus,  and  the  meat  was 
eaten  on  board.  The  temperature  was  32°  F.  Next  we  come 
to  the  Frigorifique,  a  slow  steamer,  previously  named  the  Eboe, 
210  feet  in  length,  and  with  a  meat  hold  85  feet  long,  25  feet 
wide,  and  13  feet  high.  This  was  bought  in  Liverpool  in  1875 
for  210,000  francs  (£8,400)  by  a  company  formed  in  France  to 
import  fresh  meat  from  La  Plata,  Texas,  or  Madagascar. 
Three  of  Tellier's  refrigerating  engines  were  installed  at  the 
stern,  and  all  the  room  forward  of  the  engines  was  given  up  to 
cooled  space  for  meat.  The  insulating  material  was  powdered 
cork  and  chaff.  The  vessel  sailed  from  Rouen  on  September  19, 
1876,  and  arrived  at  Buenos  Aires  on  December  25,  carrying 
some  meat  from  France.  "  Dark  spots  "  were  reported  on 
some  of  this  meat  when  inspected  by  the  deputy  president  of 
the  Argentine  Rural  Society,  who  also  said  that  "  at  table  they 
gave  us  small  dishes  prepared  from  the  meat,  the  flavour  of 
the  most  part  of  it  was  rather  unpleasant."  (Turf,  brought 
as  ballast,  was  the  alleged  cause  of  this.)  After  considerable 
difficulty  in  "  assembling "  a  return  cargo  of  meat,  the 
ship  Frigorifique  sailed  for  Rouen,  where  she  arrived  on 
August  14,  1877,  after  a  voyage  of  104  days  :  some  of 
the  meat  when  landed  there  had  been  preserved  for  110  days. 
Le  Rappel  de  Paris  of  December  2,  1877,  stated  that  a 


28     A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

certain  portion  of  the  meat  did  not  arrive  in  good  con- 
dition, and  a  "  rather  careful  selection  had  to  be  made." 
But,  it  adds,  "  the  problem  was  solved."  No  particulars  are 
to  hand  as  to  the  realization  of  the  cargo,  but  the  French  people 
were  indifferent,  and  even  in  those  early  days  it  was  in  England 
where  there  were  the  best  chances  of  exploiting  Tellier's 
process,  for  it  seems  that  one  of  Mr.  Tallerman's  companies, 
the  London  Meat  Importation  and  Storage  Co.,  arranged  to 
buy  the  Frigorifique  and  send  her  out  again  to  South  America. 
The  negotiations,  however,  fell  through,  and  the  vessel  experi- 
enced many  vicissitudes,  almost  knocking  down  one  of  the  Seine 
bridges  on  one  occasion,  and  being  put  up  for  sale  in  May,  1879. 
A  Mr.  Robert  MacAndrew  was  introduced  to  the  Frigorifique 
company  to  finance  it.  Actually  ten  tons  of  the  desiccated 
beef  brought  over  by  the  ship  reached  London.  "  Not  an  atom 
of  mould  was  on  it,"  Mr.  Tallerman  says,  and  he  adds  :  "  the 
meat  was  like  leather,  and  had  lost  30  per  cent,  of  weight, 
which  was  regained  in  cooking  !  "  This  loss  of  weight  may  seem 
incredible.  But  in  Harrap  and  Douglas's  "  Public  Abattoirs 
and  Cattle  Markets  "  it  is  stated  that  a  piece  of  beef  116  ounces 
in  weight  lost  50  ounces  in  67  days  (43  per  cent.)  by  "air 
cooling."  M.  Tellier  patented  his  process  in  all  the  countries  of 
Europe,  and  in  Victoria,  Australia,  from  1874  to  1878. 

The  Shipment  by  the  Paraguay  in  1877. 

Although  the  shipment  by  no  means  marked  the  start  of  the 
refrigerated  meat  export  trade  from  South  America,  the  suc- 
cessful carriage  of  a  cargo  of  frozen  meat  on  the  s.s.  Paraguay 
from  Buenos  Aires  to  Havre  in  1877  must  be  chronicled 
as  actually  the  first  entirely  successful  frozen  meat  shipment 
in  the  world's  history.  About  1860  an  ammonia-compression 
machine  called  the  "  engine  Carre  "  was  constructed,  an  inven- 
tion with  which  M.  Charles  Tellier  was  in  some  way  associated. 
M.  Carre's  name  must  stand  out  as  that  of  the  pioneer  in  Europe 
of  the  frozen  meat  trade ;  for  Tellier  never  brought  his  meat  below 
freezing  point,  and  the  Argentine  meat  brought  by  the  Frigori- 
fique was  a  thing  apart — nothing  has  ever  since  been  seen  like 


THE   WORK   OF  THE   PIONEERS  i>«) 

it.  Records  of  the  solitary  attempt  made  by  the  "Society 
Jullien  Company  for  the  transport  and  preservation  of  fresh 
meat  by  means  of  cold  (Carre-.!  ullirn  system),  Boulevard 
National,  386,  Marseilles,"  are  fairly  clear.  Messrs.  Jullien 
were  shipowners,  running  vessels  engaged  in  the  Mediterranean 
fish  trade.  They  fitted  a  Carre  ammonia  machine  in  the 
s.s.  Paraguay,  1,120  tons.  Captain  Lefevre  was  in  charge, 
the  engineer  was  M.  Lescornet,  and  the  refrigerator  was 
constructed  by  Messrs.  Hanthonille,  of  Marseilles,  from 
M.  Carre's  designs.  The  engineers  were  so  determined  to  make 
a  new  departure  and  congeal  their  meat  that  they  kept  the 
temperature  during  the  homeward  passage  at  about  —17°  F.  ! 
The  chronicler  says  the  meat  was  "  petrified,  as  hard  as  a  stone." 
Extraordinary  precautions  were  taken  with  some  meat  sent 
out  from  France,  as  a  test.  The  Argentine  Vice-Consul  at 
Marseilles  sealed  up  the  refrigeration  chamber  and  the  four 
quarters  of  beef  and  ten  sheep  therein.  The  vessel  sailed  on 
August  13,  1877,  and  arrived  at  Buenos  Aires  on  September  29. 
The  Paraguay  commenced  to  take  in  her  meat  from  San 
Nicolas  for  freezing  on  board  on  October  7,  and  she  did  not 
arrive  at  Havre  till  about  May  7,  1878,  owing  to  having  been 
compelled  to  put  into  St.  Vincent  for  repairs  after  a  collision. 
There  she  stayed  four  months,  yet  she  arrived  at  the  French 
port  with  the  meat  in  tip-top  condition — a  marvellous 
performance  for  1878  !  Her  cargo  consisted  of  5,500  carcasses 
of  mutton.  The  reporter  at  Havre  was  enthusiastic.  "  The 
congealing  completely  destroys  the  germ  of  putrefaction,"  he 
wrote,  and  the  good  people  at  Havre  received  the  consignment 
with  joy.  The  80  tons  were  "  used  to  the  last  morsel."  The 
garrison  troops  feasted  on  it  and,  mirabile  dictu,  the  Grand 
Hotel  in  Paris  used  the  meat  for  a  whole  week.  As  the  French 
were  so  ready  to  welcome  frozen  meat,  and  partook  of  it  so 
freely,  one  concludes  that  the  regulations  now  built  up  against 
its  import  must  be  artificial  or  engineered.  The  Jullien  Co. 
prepared  the  Paraguay  for  a  second  essay  on  a  grander  scale 
(800  tons  of  meat),  but,  as  Dr.  Pierre  Berges  has  recorded, 
"  as  it  happened,  the  project  was  never  realized,  and  this  new 
industry  of  the  freezing  of  meat  was  abandoned  by  the  French." 


30        A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

Dr.  Berges  says,  a  little  bitterly,  in  another  place  :  "As  has 
often  happened  in  the  history  of  industries,  it  has  been  the 
French  who  have  made  the  discoveries,  and  the  English  who 
have  turned  them  to  account  to  their  profit.  The  refrigerating 
industry  belongs  to  this  number."  A  parcel  of  this  meat  was 
sent  to  London.  Messrs.  John  Schmidt  and  Co.,  69,  Mark  Lane, 
E.G.,  were  the  consignees,  and  the  mutton  was  reported  to  be 
of  "  extraordinarily  good  flavour,  but  very  small."  Messrs. 
Jullien  wished  to  build  a  fleet  of  steamers,  2,000  tons  each,  to 
convey  to  France  Argentine  frozen  meat  and  remounts  for  the 
army.  Had  the  French  capitalists  come  forward,  the  whole 
course  of  the  commercial  genesis  of  the  meat  trade  would  have 
been  altered. 

The  StrathleVen. 

The  Strathleven  shipment  was  the  outcome  of  an  inquiry 
instituted  early  in  1878  by  Queensland  squatters,  who,  having 
heard  of  the  Paraguay  voyage  from  South  America  to  Havre, 
cabled  to  London,  and  Mr.  Andrew  Mcllwraith  and  Mr.  Beard- 
more  Buchanan  went  to  Havre  to  inspect  the  steamer.  They 
reported  adversely  to  the  application  to  the  Australian  trade 
of  the  refrigeration  system  employed,  and  shortly  afterwards 
Mr.  Mcllwraith  got  into  touch  with  Messrs.  Bell  and  Coleman  in 
Glasgow.  Experiments  were  made  with  dry  air  at  30°  F., 
which  resulted  in  the  conviction  that  Mr.  Mort's  freezing 
theories  were  correct.  Negotiations  were  opened  with  Messrs. 
Bell  and  Coleman  for  a  machine  designed  and  arranged  for  ship- 
board, and  Mr.  Andrew  Mcllwraith  chartered  the  s.s.  Strath- 
leven (gross  tonnage  2,436)  from  Messrs.  Burrell  and  Son,  and 
installed  the  Bell-Coleman  machine  on  board.  The  vessel 
sailed  from  Plymouth  in  1879  under  the  control  of  Mr.  James 
Campbell,  a  civil  engineer,  and  Mr.  Matthew  Taylor  Brown, 
B.Sc.,  went  out  as  representative  of  the  Bell-Coleman  Co., 
and  returned  with  the  vessel  on  its  epoch-making  voyage.  The 
captain  was  Mr.  C.  W.  Pearson.  Mr.  (afterwards  Sir)  Thomas 
Mcllwraith,  Mr.  B.  D.  Morehead,  and  Messrs.  William  and 
Robert  Collins  were  amongst  the  Queensland  gentlemen  who 
took  a  leading  part  in  helping  forward  the  movement,  and 


MK.    AXhHKW     M.  II.WHAITH. 


To  face  ji.  SO. 


THE  WORK  OF  THE   PIONEERS  31 

Mr.  Hastings  Cuningham  and  Mr.  George  Fairbairn  in  Victoria 
rendered  assistance,  but  Mr.  Mcll wraith's  firm,  Mcll wraith, 
McEacharn  and  Co.,  bore  the  risk  of  the  venture. 

The  late  Sir  Malcolm  McEacharn  left  London  for  Sydney  to 
make  all  arrangements  there  for  the  Strathleven'a  loading. 
The  vessel  sailed  thence  on  November  29,  1879;  Melbourne 
was  made  a  second  port  of  call,  and  the  vessel  left  that  port 
on  December  6,  1879,  for  London,  where  she  arrived  on 
February  2,  1880,  with  40  tons  of  beef  and  mutton.  The 
meat  had  been  frozen  on  board.  One  of  the  first  persons  to 
inspect  the  new  commodity,  destined  to  revolutionize  the 
world's  meat  trade,  was  the  produce  representative  of  the  New 
Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.,  and  it  was  recorded 
in  the  market  report  of  that  company  that  "  On  inspection 
of  the  meat  while  the  vessel  lay  in  dock,  it  was  found  to 
be  in  a  perfectly  sound  state,  frozen  quite  hard  and  covered 
with  an  artificial  rime."  The  representative  was,  however, 
doubtful  about  several  things,  including  the  possible  early 
decomposition  upon  thawing,  deficient  flavour,  and  partial 
destruction  of  the  natural  juices.  But,  on  the  whole, 
he  took  a  sanguine  view,  and  his  comments  form  the  pioneer 
report  upon  a  trade  which  has  attracted  the  most  exhaustive 
attention  from  commercial  writers.  The  meat,  which  had  cost 
from  l^d.  to  2d.  per  Ib.  in  Australia,  was  placed  in  the  hands  of 
Mr.  J.  D.  Link,  of  Smithfield  Market,  and  realized  4$d.  to  5\d. 
per  Ib.  for  the  beef  and  5%d.  to  Qd.  per  Ib.  for  the  mutton.  A 
lunch  to  celebrate  the  success  of  the  venture  took  place  on 
the  Strathleven  on  February  6,  1880.  Messrs.  Andrew  and 
Thomas  Mcllwraith,  Sir  R.  R.  Torrens,  Colonel  Taylor,  Messrs. 
W.  Westgarth,  W.  Jordan,  and  E.  Alford  Wallace,  amongst 
others,  were  present.  A  carcass  of  lamb  was  sent  to  Queen 
Victoria  and  a  sheep  to  the  Prince  of  Wales.  A  joint  was 
given  to  the  Travellers'  Club,  and  the  late  Lord  Hatherton 
happened  to  be  lunching  at  the  Club  when  the  said  joint  was 
brought  to  table.  He  found  it  so  good  that  he  asked  for 
another  helping,  and  was  surprised  when  he  learned  that 
the  meat  which  he  had  enjoyed  so  much  represented  a  hidden 
attack  on  his,  or,  rather,  his  tenants',  industry. 


32      A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

The  newspapers  and  the  trade  gave  a  most  friendly  reception 
to  this  pioneer  shipment  of  frozen  meat ;  the  Times,  the  Daily 
Telegraph,  the  Morning  Advertiser,  the  Mark  Lane  Express,  the 
Globe,  etc.,  were  enthusiastic.  The  Daily  Telegraph,  in  referring 
to  the  meat,  wrote  :  "It  has  been  tested  by  the  ordinary 
methods  of  cooking,  and  found  to  be  in  such  good  condition 
that  neither  by  its  appearance  in  the  butchers'  shops,  nor  by 
any  peculiarity  of  flavour  when  cooked  for  the  table,  could  it 
be  distinguished  from  freshly  killed  English  meat."  The 
following  interesting  credential  emanated  from  the  London 
Central  Markets  : 

This  is  to  certify  that  we,  the  undersigned  meat  salesmen,  doing  business 
at  the  Central  Meat  Market,  London,  inspected  the  meat  imported  from 
Australia  ex  Strathhven.  We  found  it  in  perfectly  sound  marketable  con- 
dition, and  it  readily  fetched  prices  averaging  b^d.  per  Ib.  Both  beef  and 
mutton  were  excellent  in  quality,  for  those  of  us  who  tasted  the  meat  when 
cooked  pronounced  it  tender,  and  its  flavour  very  good.  From  the  success 
which  has  attended  this  shipment,  we  are  of  opinion  that  similar  supplies 
from  Australia  will  find  a  large  and  ready  sale  in  this  market. 

(Signed)  J.  D.  Tank.  Wm.  Bowyer. 

Hannah  Ward  and  Co.  Archer  and  Malthouse. 

Charles  Mathew  and  Son.  H.  S.  Fitter. 

B.  W.  Frost  and  Co.  H.  Killby  and  Sons. 

B.  Venables  and  Sons.  H.  Hicks  and  Son. 

The  Strathleven,  after  its  historic  voyage,  was  stripped  of 
its  refrigerating  machinery  and  insulation,  and  was  sold  by 
Messrs.  Burrell  and  Son  in  1899  to  Messrs.  Abram  and  Addie, 
of  Glasgow,  who  kept  her  running  in  the  American  trade. 
In  January,  1901,  she  was  lost  in  the  Atlantic  during  a 
heavy  gale  while  on  passage  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  to  the 
Mediterranean. 

The  Australian  Frozen  Meat  Export  Company. 

It  was  felt  by  the  leading  pastoralists  of  the  Riverina  district 
of  New  South  Wales  and  of  Victoria  that  this  highly  successful 
opening  of  the  new  trade  should  be  followed  up  in  a  business 
way.  Both  the  squatters  and  the  mercantile  community 
entered  enthusiastically  into  the  consideration  of  how  to 
proceed  in  the  most  practical  manner  to  exploit  this  industry. 
Meetings  were  held  in  Melbourne  at  the  end  of  1879  and  in  1880 


THE   WORK  OF  THE   PIONEERS  :i:J 

at  Scotts'  Hotel,  and  Sir  James  MoCulloch,  Sir  Samuel  Wilson, 
and  Messrs.  George  Fairbairn,  J.  H.  Douglas,  J.  L.  Currie, 
Lloyd  Jones,  James  Blackwood  (Dalgety,  Blackwood  and  Co.), 
Hastings  Cuningham,  and  C.  M.  Officer,  were  prominent 
amongst  the  gentlemen  who  supported  the  movement.  The 
Australian  Frozen  Meat  Export  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed  with  a 
subscribed  capital  of  £loo,ii(io.  m  £100  shares,  and  some  £80,000 
was  spout  in  developing  the  trade.  The  rrentlemen  above 
named  were  the  directors  of  the  company,  Sir  James  McCulloch 
being  Chairman — all  these  gentlemen  have  passed  away.  Mr. 
F.  W.  Armytage  joined  the  board  later.  Mr.  John  Hotson  was 
appointed  secretary  and  manager. 

At  that  time  there  were  neither  freezing  works  nor  fitted 
steamers,  but  during  the  early  months  of  1880  temporary  works 
were  put  up  at  Maribyrnong,  and  subsequently  substantial 
freezing  and  storing  works  were  erected  at  Newport,  near 
Melbourne.  Then  the  company  chartered  the  s.s.  Protos,  and 
fitted  up  the  vessel  with  refrigerating  machinery ;  the  insulation 
of  the  chamber  consisted  of  nine  inches  of  wool.  Refrigerating 
machines  were  manufactured  in  Melbourne  by  Messrs.  Robison 
Brothers,  engineers.  The  machine  was  a  duplicate  of  the 
Giffard  refrigerator  which  the  company  had  imported.  Toward 
the  end  of  1880  the  Protos  was  loaded  and  despatched  to 
London  with  about  4,600  sheep  and  lamb  carcasses,  and  100  tons 
of  butter,  all  of  which  produce  was  landed  in  London  in  excellent 
condition  on  January  17th,  1881,  at  a  moment  when  the  city 
was  cut  off  from  supplies  owing  to  heavy  snowstorms.  The 
meat  sold  from  5\d.  to  Id.  per  lb.,  and  the  butter  fetched 
Is.  3d.  per  lb.  These  prices,  of  course,  represented  a  sub- 
stantial profit.  After  the  success  of  the  Protos  shipment, 
Mr.  Thomas  Brydone,  of  New  Zealand,  visited  the  Melbourne 
works,  and  no  doubt  the  information  gathered  by  him  there  was 
of  great  help  in  preparing  the  Dunedin  shipment — to  be  referred 
to  later  on  in  this  chapter.  Another  steamer  was  chartered  and 
fitted  in  Melbourne,  the  ss.  Europa,  the  insulation  being  char- 
coal— the  Protos  wool  insulation  had  been  unfitted  in  London 
and  sold  in  good  condition.  A  larger  and  more  powerful 
refrigerator  was  made  for  the  Europa  by  Robison  Brothers. 

K.M.  D 


34    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Some  9,000  carcasses  of  mutton  and  Iamb,  and  some  quantity 
of  butter,  were  despatched  to  London,  where  this  shipment  also 
was  landed  in  excellentcondition.  The  prices  realized  were  about 
3%d.  per  Ib.  for  the  meat,  and  Is.  Id.  per  Ib.  for  the  butter. 

After  these  ventures  it  occurred  to  the  directors  of  the 
company  that  one  of  the  regular  lines  of  steamers  trading  from 
Australia  to  London  should  take  up  the  trade.  The  Orient 
Line  was  approached  in  1881,  and  readily  entered  into  the 
suggestion.  The  s.s.  Cuzco  and  two  other  steamers  of  the  line 
were  fitted  up  by  the  Orient  Co.  with  Haslam  machines.  The 
Cuzco  was  the  first  vessel  to  sail  with  meat ;  she  took  4,000 
frozen  carcasses,  the  freight  paid  at  that  time  was  2^d.  per  Ib. 
The  Orient  and  Garonne  followed.  Difficulties  were  many  at 
this  stage  of  development,  and  the  Australian  Frozen  Meat 
Export  Co.  had  to  struggle  with  low  prices  for  their  produce  as 
well  as  high  rates  of  freight,  and  soon  the  capital  of  the  company 
was  seriously  reduced.  Drought  set  in,  and  exports  from 
Melbourne  had  to  be  suspended  for  a  time. 

The  company  was  wound  up  in  1886.  In  1887  the  Newport 
freezing  works  were  purchased  by  the  Victorian  Government, 
which  used  them  in  connection  with  the  starting  of  the  export 
butter  business.  In  1893  the  firm  of  John  Hotson  and  Co. 
leased  the  Newport  works  from  the  Government  for  a  period 
of  years,  and  in  1896  the  works  passed  into  the  hands  of  the 
present  owners,  Messrs.  John  Cooke  and  Co.,  who  in  1899 
reorganized  and  reconstructed  them  with  new  plant.  On  a 
calm  survey  of  the  events  just  chronicled,  it  is  clear  that  the 
enterprise  of  the  directors  and  shareholders  of  the  Australian 
Frozen  Meat  Export  Co.  at  Melbourne,  coming  just  after  the 
inauguration  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  by  the  Strathleven  ship- 
ment, was  very  helpful  in  giving  the  industry  a  good  start. 

Queensland's  First  Freezing  Enterprise. 
The  first  freezing  enterprise  in  Queensland  was  that  of  the 
Central  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.  at  Lake's  Creek,  near 
Rockhampton.  This  company  had  its  origin  in  a  boiling-down 
works  at  Laurel  Bank,  on  the  Fitzroy  River,  opened  in  1868  by 
Messrs.  Berkelman  and  Lambert.  Messrs.  Whitehead  and  Co. 


THE  WORK  OF  THE  PIONEERS  85 

subsequently  acquired  the  factory.  The  Lake's  Creek  works 
were  started  in  1871  by  the  Central  Queensland  Meat 
Export  Co.  This  company  had  but  a  few  years  of  pre- 
carious existence.  Difficulties  occurred  as  time  went  on ; 
cattle  became  scarce  and  dear,  and  in  1874  the  works  were 
closed.  The  preserving  works  had  absorbed  the  surplus  cattle 
and  raised  the  stock  in  the  district  to  prohibitive  prices.  The 
works  remained  closed  until  1877,  at  which  date  Whitehead 
and  Co.  purchased  the  property  from  the  liquidators,  and  trans- 
ferred the  plant  at  the  Laurel  Bank  factory  to  the  Lake's  Creek 
works.  About  1880  No.  2  Central  Queensland  Meat  Export 
Co.  was  formed,  with  Mr.  Bertram  as  manager,  and  about  1883 
the  company  added  a  freezing  plant  to  its  establishment. 
The  freezing  chambers  were  full  of  meat  ready  for  shipment  in 
September,  1883,  by  the  s.s.  Fiado.  The  vessel  was  a  fortnight 
late  in  arrival,  and  on  September  13  what  would  have  been 
Queensland's  pioneer  enterprise  in  the  shipment  of  frozen  meat 
was  wrecked  by  a  disastrous  fire  at  the  works,  which  caused  a 
loss  of  £30,000.  (It  is  curious  that  in  1884  another  of  Nature's 
wrecking  forces,  a  hurricane,  frustrated  the  Poole  Island 
pioneers  in  their  initial  effort  to  ship  frozen  meat  by  the  same 
vessel :  see  p.  36.)  Not  until  August,  1884,  did  the  works  restart. 
In  1885  the  company  went  into  liquidation,  and  in  1886  the 
property  was  purchased  by  a  Melbourne  syndicate,  including 
in  its  members  Messrs.  Andrew  Rowan,  George  Fairbairn,  and 
John  Living.  Mr.  M.  C.  Thomson  was  managing  director  of 
the  new  company  formed,  which  retained  the  former  style,  and 
Mr.  Bertram  was  general  manager  until  1890,  when  he  was 
succeeded  by  Mr.  Alexander  Paterson.  Mr.  Paterson  held 
office  for  nine  years,  and  during  his  period  of  management 
excellent  results  were  obtained  from  the  works.  Mr.  W.  S. 
Lambe  (who  has  of  late  years  been  associated  with  the  manage- 
ment of  South  American  frigorificos)  in  1899  became  works 
manager.  An  average  of  the  annual  outturn  of  the  Lake's 
Creek  works  for  five  years  struck  at  this  stage  of  the  company's 
history  showed  50,000  cattle  treated  and  273,000  sheep  ;  meat 
frozen  11,966,000  Ibs.,  and  meat  preserved  7,750,000  Ibs.  In 
1901  the  company  and  business  were  taken  over  by  a  syndicate 

D2 


36    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  London  capitalists,  including  Sir  Montague  Nelson,  Mr. 
George  Mackenzie,  and  Mr.  James  Caird.  The  Central  Queens- 
land Meat  Export  Co.  was  registered  in  London,  where  the  office 
is  at  14,  Dowgate  Hill,  E.C.  Mr.  G.  H.  Hopper  was  installed 
as  the  general  manager  at  Lake's  Creek,  a  position  he  still  holds. 
The  property  is  one  of  the  largest  meat  preserving  and  freezing 
establishments  in  Australia,  possessing  modern  machinery  and 
plant.  The  land  held  by  the  company  is  about  30,000  acres, 
of  which  18,000  are  freehold.  When  the  works  are  in  full 
operation  700  to  1,000  hands  are  employed.  Quite  a  small 
town  is  built  round  the  factory  for  the  employees  ;  a  dining 
hall  to  seat  200  men,  a  mission  hall,  school,  school  of  arts, 
rowing,  cricket,  and  football  clubs,  are  amongst  the  social 
features  of  the  Lake's  Creek  meat  works. 

Absolutely  the  first  shipment  of  frozen  meat  actually 
despatched  from  Queensland  left  Moreton  Bay,  Brisbane,  on 
May  20, 1884.  Concerning  this  shipment,  the  Brisbane  Courier 
of  May  21,  1884,  said  :  "  The  British  India  Co.'s  steamer 
Dorunda,  with  the  first  shipment  of  frozen  meat  for  London 
from  this  colony,  left  the  Bay  yesterday  afternoon.  The 
frozen  cargo  consisted  of  3,594  sheep  and  100  quarters  of 
beef,  and  the  shipment  may  be  attributed  to  the  enterprise 
of  the  Queensland  Freezing  and  Food  Export  Co.  The  cattle 
were  the  property  of  Mr.  Collins,  one  of  the  earliest  and  most 
consistent  of  the  supporters  of  the  meat  export  trade.  The 
shipment  was  not  a  success,  but  the  company  afterwards 
demonstrated  the  vessel's  capacity  for  carrying  meat." 

Foole  Island. 

An  early  and  gallant  attempt  to  follow  up  the  success 
achieved  by  the  Strathleven  with  its  epoch-making  shipment 
was  made  in  Queensland  in  1881,  when  the  Australian  Co.,  Ltd., 
was  registered  in  London  on  April  29  of  that  year.  Mr.  Robert 
Christison,  owner  of  large  flocks  and  herds  on  his  Lammermoor 
and  other  stations  in  North  Queensland,  conceived  the  idea  of 
establishing  meat  freezing  works  in  that  part  of  Australia  and 
of  forming  a  London  company  to  work  the  enterprise.  At  that 
time  there  was  no  market  in  the  North  of  Queensland  to  speak 


I  111     \\oKK    OF  THE  PIONEERS  87 

of  for  fat  cattle.  There  was  just  the  boiling-down  works  and 
nothing  more.  Mr.  Christison  went  to  London,  and  was 
successful  in  meeting  with  some  leading  City  men.  The 
Australian  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed  in  London,  Sir  Richmond 
Cotton,  M.P.,  afterwards  Lord  Mayor  of  London  (then  the 
senior  partner  in  the  well-known  London  firm  of  produce 
l>n>kors,  Culverwell,  Brooks  and  Cotton),  becoming  chair- 
man. The  other  directors  of  this  concern,  the  first  purely 
frozen  meat  company  formed  in  England,  were  Messrs.  B.  T. 
Bosanquet,  R.  Campbell,  jun.,  J.  Jackson,  Samson  Lloyd, 
Laidley  Mort,  T.  Salt,  and  A.  Van  de  Velde,  the  secretary 
being  Mr.  R.  M.  Stephenson.  The  subscribed  capital  was 
£61,613. 

Before  referring  to  Poole  Island  and  what  happened  there, 
it  may  be  mentioned  that  the  Australian  Co.  was  wound  up  in 
1888,  but  prior  to  that  stage  its  consignment  business  was 
passed  over  to  the  New  Zealand  and  Colonial  Consignment  Co., 
Ltd.,  which  was  registered  in  London  in  November,  1885,  with 
a  capital  of  £50,000,  the  directors  comprising  Messrs.  R.  M. 
Stephenson  (managing  director),  G.  M.  Mackenzie,  B.  T. 
Bosanquet,  and  A.  Van  de  Velde.  This  company  ran  a  shop 
at  Hounslow  as  a  part  of  its  operations.  As  Messrs.  Nelson 
Brothers,  Ltd.,  were  desirous  of  receiving  consignments,  they 
purchased  the  goodwill  and  business  of  the  New  Zealand  and 
Colonial  Consignment  Co.  from  June,  1886,  and  took  over 
Mr.  Stephenson,  giving  him  the  appointment  of  country 
manager. 
The  Australian  Company,  Ltd.,  was  granted  a  lease  by  the 

nsland  Government  of  Poole  Island,  near  Bo  wen,  North 
(,>inM-nsland,  and  the  works — the  second  freezing  establishment 
erected  in  Australia — were  put  up.  Bowen  has  a  fine  natural 
harbour,  and  Messrs.  Moulder's  steamers  now  take  delivery 
of  the  frozen  meat  shipped  thence  by  the  Merinda  works 
of  Bergl,  Australia,  Ltd.  After  many  delays  the  factories 
were  completed.  A  stumbling  block  to  the  company's  progress 
was  that  the  underwriters  would  not  entertain  a  policy  on  its 

i  meat  shipments  to  London,  no  matter  how  high  the 
premium  offered  ;  nevertheless  in  1884  the  first  cargo  of  meat 


38    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

from  the  works  was  put  on  board  the  s.s.  Fiado,  which  was 
fitted  with  Bell-Coleman  refrigerating  machinery.  The  vessel 
was  bound  for  Batavia,  and  a  remunerative  price  for  the  meat 
was  anticipated.  Here,  unfortunately,  has  to  be  recorded  a 
very  aggravated  instance  of  the  ill-luck  which  so  often  dogs 
the  footsteps  of  pioneers  and  wrecks  their  enterprises.  On 
January  30,  1884,  just  as  the  Fiado  was  ready  to  sail,  occurred 
one  of  the  terrible  cyclones  that  occasionally  visit  the  North 
Queensland  coasts.  When  the  storm  abated,  it  was  found  that 
the  Fiado  lay  high  and  dry  on  the  mainland.  The  company 
lost  heavily,  and  after  mature  consideration  it  was  decided  to 
wind  up  affairs.  Ultimately  the  buildings  and  effects  were 
sold  to  the  British  India  Steam  Navigation  Co.,  which 
concern,  employing  steamers  of  their  own,  and  those  of  the 
Ducal  Line,  owned  and  managed  by  Messrs.  J.  B.  Westray 
and  Co.,  began  in  1885  the  lifting  of  the  meat  from  the  Poole 
Island  works.  The  first  shipment  of  1,000  tons  was  made  by 
the  s.s.  Duke  of  Westminster  in  the  year  named,  running 
on  the  British  India-Queensland  mail  line.  In  the  freezing  of 
this  meat  various  difficulties  presented  themselves,  and  at  one 
point  so  critical  was  the  position  that  the  zinc-lined  piano 
case  of  Mr.  Stevens,  the  manager,  was  impounded  and  turned 
to  use  as  an  extra  condenser.  One  or  two  shipments  were  made 
subsequently  on  the  joint  account  of  growers  and  shipowners, 
but  the  works  lacked  that  efficiency  and  perfection  of  detail 
equipment  since  attained  elsewhere.  The  new  owners  of  the 
works  found  the  enterprise  was  attended  with  such  lack  of 
success  that  in  1886  it  was  discontinued.  It  must  be  remem- 
bered that  the  works  had  been  erected  on  an  island,  the  only 
approach  to  which  was  at  low  tide,  when  the  cattle  had  to  cross, 
sometimes  up  to  their  girths  in  water.  Apart  from  this  incon- 
venience, the  early  management  had  to  contend  with  the 
difficulties  usually  experienced  by  pioneers,  lack  of  trade 
organization  and  markets,  besides  the  prejudice  against  frozen 
meat,  which  in  those  days  was  very  marked.  The  British 
India  Co.  still  own  the  site  and  what  remains  of  the  works,  but 
the  machinery  and  boilers  have  been  sold,  the  latter  to  the 
Alligator  Creek  Works,  North  Queensland. 


THi:    WORK    OF  THE   PIONEERS  W 

New  Zealand  enters  the  Field. 

It  will  be  convenient  at  this  point  to  turn  to  New  Zealand 
and  consider  the  beginnings  of  the  export  trade  from  that 
Colony  in  frozen  mutton.  In  1851  there  were  233,043  sheep 
in  New  Zealand,  and  by  1880  the  flocks  had  grown  to  1 1,530,623, 
owned  by  6,857  farmers. 

A  notable  pioneer  of  the  New  Zealand  meat  export  trade 
was  the  New  Zealand  and  Australian  Land  Co.,  the  head- 
quarters of  which  concern  are  at  Edinburgh.  Mr.  W.  S. 
Davidson,  who  became  general  manager  of  that  company  in 
1879,  provides  an  exceedingly  interesting  and  detailed  account 
of  the  circumstances  in  which  New  Zealand's  pioneer  frozen 
shipment  was  made  on  the  Dunedin.  Realizing  the  great  need 
of  an  outlet  for  the  large  surplus  of  sheep,  and  perceiving  the 
possibilities  of  the  frozen  export  trade  already  indicated  by 
the  first  attempts  from  Australia,  Mr.  Davidson  investigated 
the  whole  business,  his  directors  agreeing  that  a  trial  shipment 
from  New  Zealand  might  be  arranged  for  on  the  part  of 
the  New  Zealand  and  Australian  Land  Co.,  at  the  same  time 
authorizing  a  preliminary  expenditure  of  £1,000.  In  Feb- 
ruary, 1880,  Mr.  Davidson  communicated  with  the  late  Mr. 
James  Galbraith,  a  director  of  the  Albion  Shipping  Co.,  and 
with  him  had  a  first  interview  with  Messrs.  Bell  and  Coleman 
in  Glasgow.  It  was  under  Mr.  Coleman's  able  supervision 
that  the  sailing  ship  Dunedin  was  fitted  up,  his  early  assur- 
ance to  the  promoters  being  that  if  the  carcasses  were  hard 
frozen  they  would  suffer  no  deterioration  in  the  long  voyage 
of  100  days  or  more  in  a  sailing  ship  ;  that  they  could  be 
frozen  on  board  the  ship  itself  without  any  refrigerating  works 
on  shore  to  assist ;  and,  moreover,  that  with  thorough  insulation 
of  the  meat  chambers  in  the  ship,  and  with  a  proper  system  for 
the  circulation  of  the  cold  air,  the  carcasses  when  frozen  solid 
might  be  stored  for  the  voyage  as  closely  as  they  could  be  packed 
without  risk  of  their  being  crushed.  This  was,  indeed,  a 
marvellous  piece  of  prescience.  Careful  investigation  having 
led  Mr.  Davidson  to  the  conclusion  that  a  Bell-Coleman 
cold  air  compression  refrigerating  machine  was  the  best  to 


40    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

adopt,  a  contract  was  finally  concluded  whereby  the  Albion 
Shipping  Co.  agreed  to  fit  up  one  of  its  best  and  fastest  sailing 
ships  with  insulated  meat  chambers,  boilers,  and  Bell- 
Coleman  refrigerating  machinery,  the  Land  Co.  undertaking 
to  find  a  cargo  of  meat  (up  to  7,500  sheep,  if  necessary) 
to  fill  the  chambers,  and  to  pay  a  freight  of  2^d.  per  lb., 
taking  all  the  risk  of  the  cargo  arriving  in  a  marketable 
condition. 

In  support  of  this  enterprise,  Messrs.  William  Ewing  and  Co., 
insurance  brokers,  of  Glasgow,  were  plucky  enough  to  accept 
what  was  a  totally  unknown  risk  by  covering  all  contingencies 
attached  to  the  carriage  of  the  meat  at  the  moderate  premium 
of  five  guineas  per  cent.  The  ship  Dunedin,  of  about  1,200 
tons,  commanded  by  Captain  Whitson,  was  selected  for  the 
venture,  and  Mr.  Davidson  sent  his  instructions  to  Mr.  Thomas 
Brydone,  the  Land  Co.'s  superintendent  in  New  Zealand,  to 
erect  a  killing  shed  in  which  to  slaughter  the  sheep,  to  secure 
first-rate  butchers,  and  in  every  way  to  prepare  for  the 
provision  of  a  cargo  of  the  most  attractive  classes  of  sheep. 
Under  Mr.  Brydone's  able  direction  this  work  was  carried 
out,  and  the  slaughterhouse  was  erected  on  the  company's 
Totara  Estate.  Looking  back  now,  too  much  praise  can 
hardly  be  given  to  the  extraordinary  wisdom  and  pluck  shown 
by  these  Dunedin  men.  Failure  in  their  enterprise  might  well 
have  thrown  back  the  industry  for  years. 


The  Voyage  of  the  Dunedin. 

It  was  decided  to  freeze  on  board,  and  the  work  was  entered 
upon  in  a  'tween  decks  chamber  on  the  Dunedin  at  Port 
Chalmers  on  December  7,  1881,  when  Mr.  Davidson  and  Mr. 
Brydone  personally  stowed  the  first  frozen  sheep  ever  loaded 
in  New  Zealand,  the  question  with  them  being  as  to  whether 
the  carcasses,  after  they  had  been  frozen  on  board  the  ship, 
should  be  placed  "  thwart  ship  "  or  "  fore  and  aft "  in  the 
chambers.  All  went  well  until  December  11,  when  a 
fracture  of  the  engine's  crank-shaft  owing  to  a  flaw  in 


THE  WORK  OF  THE   PIONEERS  41 

the  casting  stopped  the  work  and  compelled  the  sale  of  the 
641  sheep  then  in  the  chambers  and  of  the  360  killed  and  in 
transit.  Thus  New  Zcalanders  themselves  were  the  first  con- 
sumers of  their  own  frozen  meat.  A  repair  was  made,  and  the 
loading  was  completed  on  February  11,  1882,  the  ship  sailing 
on  the  15th  of  that  month,  and  arriving  in  London  Docks  on 
May  24,  after  a  long  passage  of  ninety-eight  days.  During  that 
period  the  refrigerating  machine  had  worked  steadily  ;  some- 
times, in  cool  weather,  it  was  only  run  two  or  three  hours 
in  the  twenty-four. 

The  anxiety  as  to  the  fate  of  the  meat  is  aptly  described  by 
Mr.  Davidson,  who  had  then  returned  to  London.  "  Captain 
Whitson,"  he  says,  "  came  on  to  London  ahead  of  his  ship  in 
a  pilot  boat,  looking  very  strained  and  careworn  as  he  entered 
the  shipping  company's  office.  He  was  not  quite  sure  about 
the  condition  of  the  cargo,  but  thought  that  most  of  it  was 
sound.  The  vicissitudes  of  his  experimental  voyage  were 
related,  the  captain's  anxieties  about  the  cargo  having  been 
aggravated  by  his  dread  that  his  masts  would  be  burnt,  as  the 
sparks  from  the  funnel  set  fire  to  the  sails  on  several  occasions. 
Then,  in  the  tropics  the  ship  was  for  a  long  time  on  one  tack, 
and  owing  to  its  steadiness  the  cold  air  was  not  sufficiently 
diffused  amongst  the  carcasses,  and,  in  fact,  the  temperature 
in  the  upper  chamber  remained  so  high  that  the  engineer  was 
almost  in  despair."  At  last  Captain  Whitson  had  determined 
to  alter  the  circulation  of  the  air,  which  was  evidently  defective, 
and  to  do  this  he  had  to  crawl  down  the  main  trunk,  and  in  the 
process  of  cutting  fresh  openings  for  the  better  escape  of  the 
cold  air  he  became  so  benumbed  by  the  frost  that  he  was  only 
rescued  from  his  perilous  position  by  the  mate  crawling  in 
behind  him  and  attaching  a  rope  to  his  legs  by  which  means 
he  was  pulled  out  of  the  air  trunk  ! 

It  was  found  at  London  Docks  that  the  cargo  had  arrived 
in  a  sound  condition,  and  its  sale  at  Smithfield  was  at  once 
arranged  for,  the  cargo  embracing  3,521  sheep  and  449  lambs 
belonging  to  the  Land  Co.,  and  939  sheep  supplied  by 
"  outsiders.*' 

The  results  of  the  marketing  of  this  pioneer  shipment  were 


42    A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

officially  communicated  to  New  Zealand,  and  the  following  is 
a  brief  extract  of  the  particulars  then  forwarded  : — 

"  The  discharging  of  the  cargo  commenced  three  days  after 
arrival,  and  the  whole  shipment  was  sold  within  a  fortnight, 
the  meat  being  taken  out  at  night  and  conveyed  to  Smithfield 
market,  so  that  the  sheep  were  hard  frozen  when  butchers 
went  to  buy  them  in  the  morning.  There  are  no  auction  sales 
of  dead  meat  in  London,  and  the  carcasses  were  sold  at  Smith- 
field  in  the  usual  way,  by  placing  so  many  in  the  hands  of  some 
half-dozen  salesmen  who  made  as  good  prices  for  them  as  they 
could.  At  first  the  salesmen  were  rather  doubtful  about  the 
venture  being  a  success,  especially  as  it  was  the  first  trial  from 
New  Zealand,  but  when  they  saw  the  fine  big  sheep,  which, 
though  many  of  them  had  been  frozen  over  four  months, 
were  as  clean  and  bright  as  newly-killed  mutton,  they  quickly 
changed  their  opinion  and  pronounced  the  meat  to  be  '  as 
perfect  as  meat  could  be.'  New  Zealanders  will  be  pleased 
to  learn  that  the  shipment  was  mentioned  even  in  the 
House  of  Lords.  Excepting  the  very  fat  coarse  sheep  weighing 
over  100  Ibs.  each — several  weighed  over  150  Ibs.,  and  one 
182  Ibs. — the  mutton  was  quite  suitable  for  the  English  market. 
Out  of  the  whole  cargo  only  one  sheep  was  condemned. 
Including  some  eight  or  ten  sheep  and  lambs  given  away, 
which  are  entered  at  the  average  price  of  those  sold,  the 
following  is  an  exact  statement  of  the  actual  results  of  the 
shipment : — 

No.  Weight.  Per  sheep.  Per  Ib. 

£     s.    rf.             d.  £.         s.  d. 

Sheep:  3,136  244,073  Ibs.  sold  in  London  227  6v>6  6,675    9  8 

373  29,415    „       „    „  Glasgow  230  6-54  801  13  6 

8  477    „       „        captain  199  6  11  18  6 

3  to  order  of  manager  227  679 

1  condemned 

3,521 

Lambs:    425          16,846  Ibs.  sold  in  London  1     1     4        6'45  453    Oil 

24  950    „       „     „  Glasgow          1     5     0         7-60  30     1     0 

449  £7,978  11     4 

Pigs  :         22  1,164    „  31     2  11 

£8,009  14    3 


TUL;  \\OKK  <>i    rm. 


<  ii.M:..r..-. 

Brought  forward  
•  '  for  bags   ........ 
:ng  meat  frozen  in  Dunedin  after  her  arrival  in 
.ilon     
Freight  on  296  477  Mm.       

£ 
01 
43 

i. 

H 
11 

e 

d. 
9 
9 

n 

*        «.     4. 

£  -.'•"'.•  n    -t 

mcc  on  £7,600  

111 

LI 

I 

scharge,  telegrams,  etc.    . 
Dock  Company'*  account  for  discharging  . 

p 

78 

«;:, 

11 
B 

10 

6 

7 
0 

. 

.ige  400  •!)>                      to  Glasgow 
Bale,  commission,  bank  charges,  etc.  .... 

51 

289 

4 
:, 

:< 
4 

i      2      4 

£4.216  11  11 

The  net  return  per  sheep  in  Port  Chalmers  is  £1    0*.  U9d.  or  3-23<f.  per  Ib. 
„       „     lamb  „      „          „         „        10*.    9d.    „  3-25<*.       „ 

"  I  calculate  there  will  be  a  net  return  of  fully  9d.  per  sheep 
in  New  Zealand  from  sale  of  skins  and  tallow,  after  paying  cost 
of  killing  and  putting  on  board  ship,  so  that  the  company  has 
netted  £1  Is.  8fdL  for  its  sheep,  averaging  rather  under  81  Ibs. 

"The  loss  in  selling  weight,  as  compared  with  shipping  weight, 
amounts  to  only  a  little  over  1  Ib.  on  each  carcass.  The  charges 
between  Port  Chalmers  and  London,  including  insurance  and 
freight,  amounted  to  2 -73d.  per  Ib.,  and,  after  the  ship  arrived 
in  London,  0'41rf.  per  Ib.  The  sheep  sent  home  would  only 
have  netted  some  11s.  or  12s.  per  head  in  the  Dunedin  market 
at  the  time  of  shipping,  so  that  their  value  was  about  doubled. 
The  939  sheep  sent  by  other  shippers  sold  at  about  the  same 
prices  as  the  company's  sheep,  all  but  some  very  heavy  ewes, 
which  did  not  fetch  so  much  per  Ib.,  but  nevertheless  brought 
full  value  considering  the  quality  of  the  meat." 

Mr.  Davidson  states  that  "  After  the  success  of  the  Dunedin 
shipment  the  Land  Co.  engaged  the  Marlborough,  another  fast 
sailer  belonging  to  the  Albion  Shipping  Co.,  and  these  two 
vessels  each  brought  home  very  successfully  about  half  a  dozen 
cargoes  of  mutton,  the  former  ship  carrying  about  9,000  car- 
casses and  the  latter  about  13,000.  Tragedy,  however, 
awaited  them,  as,  while  still  carrying  frozen  meat  for  the  Land 
Co.,  both  vessels  left  New  Zealand  within  six  weeks  of  one 
another,  and  neither  was  ever  heard  of  again,  the  supposition 


44    A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

being  that  they  ran  on  icebergs  off  the  Horn,  these  being  very 
numerous  about  that  time." 


Mr,  Brydone's  Forecast. 

Mr.  Brydone  took  the  deepest  interest  in  the  trade,  for  the 
successful  inauguration  of  which  he  was  largely  responsible. 
In  1881  he  read  a  paper  at  the  annual  meeting  of  the  Otago 
Agricultural  and  Pastoral  Association,  giving  an  account  of 
his  investigations  in  Australia  and  elsewhere.  His  faith  never 
wavered,  for  even  as  late  as  1892,  when  many  people  in  New 
Zealand  thought  that  the  export  then  reached  of  2,000,000 
carcasses  was  about  the  "  top  notch,"  he  stated  :  "  I  should 
say  there  is  every  prospect  of  New  Zealand  being  able  to  export 
4,000,000  sheep  ten  years  hence  as  easily  as  we  do  2,000,000 
now."  Mr.  Brydone's  forecast  was  correct ! 

Canterbury  and  Otago  erected  a  building  in  the  Agricultural 
Hall,  Christchurch,  to  his  memory,  called  the  Brydone  Hall, 
and  the  farmers  of  the  Oamaru  district  have  erected  a  hand- 
some memorial  cairn  on  the  Totara  Estate,  where  the  first 
sheep  for  the  frozen  meat  trade  were  killed  and  prepared  for 
export  in  the  ship  Dunedin.  In  reviewing  the  circumstances 
that  led  up  to  the  successful  pioneer  shipment  from  New  Zea- 
land, one  can  have  no  doubt  of  the  important  part  played  by 
Thomas  Brydone.  It  is  clear  that  he  had  grasped  some  of  the 
possibilities  of  the  new  trade  and  what  they  promised  for  the 
sheep  farmer  of  New  Zealand.  Deservedly  may  he  take  front 
rank  amongst  the  pioneers. 

Supplementing  Mr.  Davidson's  statement  as  to  the  outturn  of 
the  meat  ex  Dunedin,  the  market  circular  of  the  National 
Mortgage  and  Agency  Co.  of  New  Zealand,  dated  June  2,  1882, 
declared  the  shipment  to  have  arrived  in  first-class  condition. 
The  carcasses  were  pronounced  excellent  in  quality,  exception, 
however,  being  taken  to  the  very  fat  and  heavy  sheep.  The 
consignment,  it  was  stated,  was  selling  at  prices  ranging  from 
fyd.  to  §\d.  per  lb.,  lambs  at  6%d.  to  l\d.  per  lb.,  and  it  was 
added  that  the  experiment  was  considered  a  great  success. 
The  other  consignors  of  meat  by  the  Dunedin  referred  to 


THOM.\>    lii;\  MUSK. 


To  faff  p.  44. 


\ 
THE   WORK   OF  THE   PIONEERS  r, 

above    were    Messrs.  James    Elder  (Maheno),   .1.    II.  Smith 
(Invercargill),  Murray,  Roberts  and  Co.,  and  James  Shand. 

The  Times  had  a  leading  article  on  the  shipment,  and  called 
the  venture  a  "  prodigious  fact,"  which  it  indeed  was.  The 
English  butcher,  with  the  fine  New  Zealand  wether  sheep 
before  him,  equal  in  quality  to  home-bred  mutton,  realized  that 
a  new  era  was  opened  up  in  the  retail  meat  trade.  He  was 
well  justified  in  his  realization,  for  since  May,  1882,  some 
78,000,000  New  Zealand  frozen  carcasses  have  been  handled 
by  retailers  in  Great  Britain,  much  to  their  profit,  and  more 
to  the  well-being  of  the  British  public  who  have  consumed 
them. 


CHAPTER  III 

THE   FREEZING   WORKS   OF  AUSTRALIA 

THE  development  of  freezing  in  Australia  has  not  been  on 
such  an  extensive  scale  nor  so  continuous  as  in  New  Zealand. 
This  has  been  partly  due  to  the  periodic  droughts  from  which 
Australia  has  suffered  and  the  distances  separating  the  sheep- 
breeding  districts  from  the  shipping  ports.  Moreover,  in  New 
Zealand  the  freezing  industry  arrived  in  the  nick  of  time  to 
place  farming  in  that  country  on  a  paying  basis,  and  the 
Colony  found  it  absolutely  necessary  to  follow  it  up  with 
regularity.  On  the  other  hand,  Australia's  merino  wool 
production — one  of  the  grandest  industries  in  the  world — 
except  in  periods  of  depressed  prices  for  the  golden  fleece, 
has  always  put  the  freezing  of  sheep  into  a  secondary 
position :  only  the  surplus  sheep  have  been  exported. 
Again,  in  New  Zealand  freezing  has  proved  fairly  profitable, 
and  the  business  has  been  organized  on  systematic  lines, 
while  in  Australia  the  freezing  works  as  a  whole  have  gone 
through  many  vicissitudes.  Large  schemes  were  propounded 
for  covering  portions  of  the  continent  with  meat-freezing 
works,  but  before  these  schemes  could  be  properly  carried 
out  the  1895 — 1903  drought  intervened  and  prevented  the 
proper  development  of  the  enterprises. 

In  a  considerable  number  of  the  Australian  works,  especially 
those  in  New  South  Wales,  stock  are  killed  at  various 
centres  and  then  either  railed  or  carted  to  the  freezing  works. 
After  being  frozen,  the  carcasses  are  again  either  railed  or 
carted  to  the  steamer,  in  most  instances  in  insulated  vans. 
The  best  works,  however,  are  conducted  on  the  same  principle 


III1     1  1(1  1  XING   WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA        47 

as  in  Now  Zealand  and  the  Argentine  Republic,  the  animals 
being  slaughtered  alongside  the  freezing  chambers. 


Queensland. 

In  the  State  of  Queensland,  where  the  general  freezing 
scheme  has  been  well  designed,  there  have  been  big  fluctuations 
in  meat  exports,  as  the  few  following  figures  will  show : — 


- 

Cattle  In  the  SUte. 

Frozen  Beef  Exports  to 
the  United  Kingdom. 

Cwt*. 

1893 

6,693/200 

207,000 

1899 

5,053,836 

513,000 

1903       . 

2,481,717 

77,000 

1910       . 

5,131,699 

800,000 

Most  of  the  meat  works  are  situated  at  the  point  of 
shipment. 

Central  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co. — The  first  freezing 
enterprise  in  Queensland  was  that  of  the  Central  Queensland 
Meat  Export  Co.  at  Lake's  Creek,  near  Rockhampton.  As  a 
meat  works  Lake's  Creek  was  opened  in  1871,  and  a  freezing 
plant  was  added  in  1883  (see  p.  34  for  a  sketch  of  the  early 
history  of  this  concern). 

Queensland  Meat  Export  and  Agency  Co. — The  Queens- 
land Meat  Export  and  Agency  Co.,  with  works  at  Eagle  Farm, 
on  the  Brisbane  River,  and  at  Ross  Creek,  Townsville,  was 
formed  in  1890.  Sir  Thomas  Mcll wraith  was  a  prime  mover  in 
floating  the  company  with  £1,000,000  capital,  and  Mr.  John 
Cooke,  who  had  newly  come  from  New  Zealand,  assisted  in 
its  establishment.  Of  this  nominal  capital  less  than  £100,000 
was  subscribed.  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and  Co.  were  appointed 
agents  in  London,  and  a  five  years'  freight  contract  was  made 
with  Moulder  Brothers  and  Co.  for  the  conveyance  of  1,200  tons 
of  meat  per  month  at  }\\d.  per  Ib.  for  mutton  and  \d.  per  Ib. 
for  beef.  The  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.,  which  was  formed 


48    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

to  give  graziers  a  market  in  the  Old  World  for  their  surplus 
cattle,    has    had    a    varied  career,  bad    luck    attending    the 
early  shipments  of  beef,  which  suffered  terribly  from  "  bone 
taint."     The  quality  of  the  cattle  handled  was  excellent,  and 
after  the  fault  referred  to  had  been  overcome    Queensland 
beef  met  a  good  demand  at  Smithfield.     But  shipments  soon 
overtaxed  the  English  market,  and  prices  fell  so  low  that  the 
Continent  of  Europe  was  tried  as  a  market  as  an  addition  to 
the  marts  of  Great  Britain ;    in  some  cases  the  Queensland 
squatters  not  only  drew  no  cash  for  their  consignments,  but 
had  to  pay  a  reclamation  charge.     Then  came  the  drought, 
with  the  consequent  gradual  reduction  of  shipments.     The 
company,  supported  in  the  first  place  by  squatters'  consign- 
ments,  had  to  buy   on  its  own  account,  and  of  late  years 
has  depended  for  its   business   on  shipments  of   frozen  and 
preserved  meats  on  its  own  account  to  British  and  Eastern 
markets.      Mr.  C.  Ross  is  the  manager  of  the  Brisbane  works, 
and  Mr.   Robert  Stewart  is  in  charge  of  the    Ross    Creek 
works.     A  controlling  holding  in  the  company  was  purchased 
some   little   time  ago   by  Messrs.  G.  S.  Yuill  and  Co.   (now 
Yuills,  Ltd.),  whose  London  office  is  at  120,  Fenchurch  Street, 
E.G.    The  Queensland  Meat  Co.'s  works  form  a  good  example  of 
sound  engineering  equipment,  and  the  refitting  of  the  Townsville 
works,  recently  undertaken,  brings  them  into  line  with  the  most 
up-to-date  freezing  works  in  existence  in  either  hemisphere.  The 
works  now  have  the  most  modern  machinery  and  appliances 
for  handling   produce,  etc.,  that  can   possibly  be  procured, 
the     original    freezing    machinery    and   other    plant    being 
discarded,  and  new  freezing  and  electric  plant  being  erected 
in  its  place.    The  whole  of  the  new  steam  engines,  both  for 
freezing    and   electric    service,   are    triple   expansion  with   a 
superheated  steam   supply  at  220  Ibs.  pressure,  supplied  by 
mechanically  fired  boilers,  and  the  entire  coal  supply  is  worked 
by  the  latest  coal-handling  machinery.      The  whole  of  the 
freezing  rooms,  stores,  etc.,  have  been  piped  with  direct  expan- 
sion coils,  in  lieu  of  the  air  circulating  batteries  which  were 
formerly   in   use.     When   these  works   were   designed   about 
twenty  years  ago,  the  old  dry  air  system  was  installed    but 


THE  FREEZING  WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA        49 

a  few  years  later  the  machines  were  replaced  by  ammonia 
compression  plant,  and  the  freezing  rooms  were  operated  by 
air  circulating  batteries.  About  two  years  ago  it  was  decided 
to  fit  half  of  the  total  freezing  capacity  with  direct  expansion 
piping,  and  this,  after  working  for  a  season,  gave  such 
excellent  results  and  so  thoroughly  satisfied  the  directors  of 
the  company  that  they  decided  to  pipe  the  remainder  of  the 
freezing  block  at  large  expenditure.  In  Townsville  coal  is 
expensive,  the  water  supply  limited,  and  drainage  difficult ; 
nevertheless,  the  improvements  now  made  render  the  works 
second  to  none  for  economy  and  convenience  in  working. 

Gladstone  Meat  Works. — The  Gladstone  Meat  Works  of 
Queensland  had  its  inception  in  1893,  when  a  meeting  was 
called  by  Messrs.  J.  H.  Geddes  and  Co.  to  consider  the  question 
of  establishing  freezing  works  at  Gladstone.  The  company 
was  formed  in  1894,  and  shipments  began  in  1896.  Mr.  W.  B. 
Shaw  was  the  prime  mover  in  the  formation  of  this  company. 
The  works  can  treat  150  bullocks  and  2,000  sheep  a  day.  The 
freezing  chambers  are  substantially  boilt  of  cemented  brickwork, 
and  the  risk  of  fire  is  minimized  by  the  use  of  pumice  insulation. 
The  refrigerating  power  is  supplied  by  one  of  Haslam's  80- ton 
compound  ammonia  machines  and  one  100-ton  compound 
Limit'  ammonia  machine.  The  slaughterhouse  is  provided 
with  hydraulic  plant  for  handling  the  carcasses  during  dressing. 
The  company  has  its  own  pier,  at  which  ocean-going  vessels 
berth.  Mr.  N.  W.  Kingdon  is  the  manager. 

Meat  Works  at  Bowen. — The  Merinda  Meat  Works,  near 
Bowen,  were  established  in  1895,  Bergl,  Australia,  Ltd.,  being 
the  proprietors,  and  Mr.  Frank  H.  Houlder  and  Captain 
Thomas  Hutton  (Australia)  its  directors.  The  original  con- 
cern, taken  over  by  the  Bergl  Co.,  was  the  Bowen  Meat  Export 
and  Agency  Co.  The  works  are  a  few  miles  up  the  railway,  and 
the  meat  is  trucked  to  the  Bowen  jetty  and  put  on  board  the 
Houlder  liners.  The  Merinda  works  have  been  kept  thoroughly 
up-to-date,  and  many  additions  and  improvements  have  been 
made,  including  the  establishment  of  a  canning  plant.  The 
works  can  treat  150  head  of  cattle  for  freezing  and  50  head  for 
canning  daily,  with  a  storage  capacity  of  1,500  tons. 

F.M.  • 


50    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Birt  and  Co.'s  Works. — The  important  interests  held  in 
Australia  in  the  way  of  freezing  works  by  Messrs.  Birt  and  Co., 
Ltd.,  Sydney — represented  in  London  by  Messrs.  Birt,  Potter 
and  Hughes,  Ltd. — may  be  set  forth  as  follow.  In  1895 
Messrs.  Birt  and  Co.  leased  the  Government  meat  markets  at 
Sydney,  and  later  in  the  same  year  they  also  leased  the 
Musgrave  Wharf,  Brisbane,  and  built  freezing  works  on  the 
property  adjoining.  From  that  time  onwards  they  became  one 
of  the  largest  exporters  of  frozen  meat  from  Australia.  The 
Sydney  works  can  deal  with  3,500  carcasses  of  mutton  per 
day,  and  have  a  storage  capacity  of  about  40,000  carcasses. 
The  Musgrave  Wharf  works  can  deal  with  about  120  head  of 
cattle  per  day,  and  have  storage  for  about  700  to  800  tons. 
In  1901  Messrs.  Birt  and  Co.  built  their  own  killing  and  freezing 
works  at  Mooraree,  eight  miles  from  Brisbane  (now  called 
Murarrie),  and  at  these  works  there  is  plant  to  kill  and  freeze 
150  head  of  cattle  and  600  sheep  per  day,  with  storage  for 
1,030  tons.  Mr.  E.  Owen  Cox  is  managing  director  for  Australia. 

Redbank  and  the  Burdekin  River  Meat  Works. — Reference 
has  now  been  made  to  the  Queensland  beef  freezing  works 
possessing  historic  interest.  Turning  to  modern  times,  Messrs. 
John  Cooke  and  Co.  erected  the  Redbank  works  on  the  upper 
Brisbane  river,  one  of  the  largest  in  the  State,  in  1902.  Two 
large  Hercules  machines  are  installed  at  the  Redbank  works, 
which  until  lately  were  under  the  charge  of  Mr.  J.  H. 
McConnell.  The  daily  freezing  capacity  of  the  works  is  1,500 
sheep  and  300  cattle ;  storage  capacity,  100,000  carcasses. 
During  the  South  African  war  Mr.  Cooke  supplied  about 
90  per  cent,  of  the  Australian  meat  issued  to  the  British 
troops.  As  beef  was  largely  called  for  in  that  connection, 
Mr.  Cooke  erected  the  Redbank  freezing  works,  and  with 
the  aid  of  the  Burdekin  Meat  Works  Co.,  situated  on  the 
Burdekin  river,  North  Queensland,  in  which  he  had  a  large 
shareholding  interest,  supplemented  by  the  annual  output 
of  the  Gladstone  freezing  works,  which  he  regularly  acquired, 
a  large  export  trade  to  Africa,  the  Philippines,  Siberia,  Japan, 
Mediterranean  ports,  and  the  United  Kingdom  was  built 
up,  the  only  drawback  being  the  long-continued  scarcity  of 


8 

*, 

I 


THE  FREEZING  WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA        51 

supplies  resulting  from  the  severe  drought  which  broke  up 
in  1902. 

The  importance  of  Queensland  as  a  contributor  of  frozen 
beef  to  Great  Britain  is  noted  in  the  number  of  freezing 
works  dotting  the  course  of  the  Brisbane  river.  The  works 
of  Thomas  Borthwick  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  expected  to  start 
freezing  early  in  1912,  are  situated  on  the  south  side  of 
the  river,  six  or  seven  miles  from  Brisbane,  and  between  the 
city  and  Moreton  Bay.  The  buildings  are  within  200  feet  of 
tho  river,  and  ocean  steamers  will  load  meat  at  the  company's 
wharf.  Tho  site  which,  it  is  stated,  has  been  acquired  by  the 
American  Meat  Trust  for  freezing  works  is  about  half  a  mile 
from  Messrs.  Borthwick's  works. 

A  recent  estimate  of  the  capacity  of  the  freezing  works  in 
Queensland  gives  180,000  head  of  cattle  treated  during  a  six 
months'  running  season.  This  is  on  a  basis  of  a  daily 
slaughtering  capacity  of  2,230  cattle  for  the  ten  works  in  the 
State.  In  addition,  over  1,000,000  sheep  can  be  handled  for 
freezing  whilst  the  works  are  going  at  their  full  capacity 
for  cattle. 

New  South  Wales. 

New  South  Wales  Fresh  Food  and  Ice  Co. — Turning  now 
to  New  South  Wales,  and  considering  the  export  of  frozen 
mutton,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  these  works  at  Darling 
Harbour,  Sydney,  opened  in  1861  by  Mr.  Mort,  are  the  oldest 
in  Australasia.  Mr.  Mort  invested  £250,000  in  the  works  ;  it 
was  in  1874  that  the  company  was  formally  incorporated  under 
ite  present  title.  In  1898  were  erected  for  the  New  South 
Wales  Fresh  Food  and  Ice  Co.,  Ltd.,  in  Liverpool  Street, 
Sydney,  works  designed  to  treat  about  5,000  sheep  daily  or  an 
equivalent  in  beef,  etc.,  and  to  store  about  85,000  carcasses  of 
mutton  as  well  as  large  quantities  of  butter,  ice,  fish,  etc.,  in 
addition  to  which  about  32  tons  of  ice  were  manufactured  daily 
in  the  same  building.  In  arrangement  these  freezing  rooms 
and  stores  were  very  much  after  the  style  of  those  at  Deniliquin, 
mentioned  hereafter,  but  considerably  larger  and  much  more 
heavily  piped  with  ammonia  coils,  this  being  done  to  enable 

•  2 


52    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  company  to  treat  meat,  when  desired  for  shipment,  in  the 
shortest  possible  time,  which  is  frequently  very  essential  when 
completing  the  loading  of  a  steamer  with  a  special  brand  of 
meat.  The  company  do  not  slaughter  at  their  works,  but  only 
freeze.  The  direct  expansion  system  of  refrigeration  is 
employed.  The  company  have  a  very  extensive  local  connec- 
tion in  the  supply  of  refrigerated  provisions.  At  these  works 
are  frozen  the  sheep  slaughtered  at  the  Riverstone  establish- 
ment, thirty  miles  from  Sydney,  owned  by  Messrs.  B.  Richards 
and  Sons,  who  have  shown  regularity  and  courage  in  their 
export  trade,  having  taken  their  chances  year  in  year  out 
in  selling  their  mutton  on  the  London  market.  Mr.  A.  E. 
Pitt  is  the  London  agent.  Some  years  ago  the  Riverstone 
Meat  Co.  had  several  stalls  in  the  Smithfield  market  annexe. 

Australian  Chilling  and  Freezing  Co. — The  Australian 
Chilling  and  Freezing  Co.,  Ltd.,  a  London  concern  of  which 
Sir  Montague  Nelson  is  chairman,  first  opened  works  at  Aber- 
deen, on  the  Hunter  river,  in  1891,  and  in  February,  1892,  the 
s.s.  Port  Douglas  took  the  first  shipment  of  13,000  carcasses  of 
mutton.  Mr.  W.  A.  Benn,  of  Sydney  (prominently  connected 
of  late  years  with  the  frozen  rabbit  business),  was  for  many 
years  manager  of  the  company.  The  Aberdeen  works  at  the 
start  offered  three  forms  of  contract :  first,  to  purchase 
delivered,  fat  wethers  weighing  47  Ibs.  and  upwards,  dressed, 
with  shanks  off,  and  kidneys  and  kidney  fat  removed,  at  Id. 
per  Ib.  cold  weight,  all  offal,  including  fat,  to  belong  to  the  com- 
pany, skin  and  wool  to  seller  ;  second,  partial  sale,  the  company 
to  make  an  advance  of  fd.  per  Ib.  on  sheep,  and  in  the  event  of 
the  mutton  selling  on  average  above  3^d.  per  Ib.  the  company 
returning  shippers  75  per  cent,  of  surplus,  the  offal  to  belong 
to  the  company,  the  skins  and  wool  to  owner ;  the  third 
form,  to  consign  on  owner's  account,  the  company  treating  the 
meat,  and  bagging  and  shipping  it,  as  well  as  paying  all  charges 
for  a  consolidated  rate  of  2'20d.,  giving  shippers  an  advance, 
and  keeping  offal  and  by-products  as  before.  These  works 
have  had  to  contend  with  variable  seasons  and  low  London 
values  for  the  excellent  class  of  mutton  and  lamb  exported, 
and  their  operations  have  benefited  New  South  Wales  and 


THE   FK1.1./1NG  WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA        r,:j 

sheep  growers  more  than  the  shareholders.  Mr.  R.  C.  McAclam 
is  the  manager  of  the  company. 

Pastoral  Finance  Association. — The  era  of  modern  well- 
equipped  freezing  works  in  the  parent  State  of  Australia  began 
in  1801.  In  that  year  a  freezing  plant  was  installed  at  the 
Pastoral  Finance  Association's  premises,  Kirribilli  Point,  Syd- 
ney Harbour.  The  first  directors  were  Messrs.  J.  H.  Geddes 
(manager  and  managing  director),  J.  F.  Burns,  Hon.  R.  H. 
Roberts,  Hon.  G.  H.  Cox  (chairman),  Russell  Barton,  and 
J.  B.  Christian.  The  daily  freezing  capacity  (Linde  machinery) 
at  the  start  was  1,500  carcasses,  now  it  is  2,500  ;  storage 
capacity  was  at  first  50,000  carcasses,  now  it  is  75,000.  The 
total  quantity  of  meat  shipped  from  1891  to  (March)  1909 
was  2,750,000  carcasses.  The  present  directors  are  Messrs. 
Russell  Barton  (managing  director),  J.  B.  Christian,  Hon. 
G.  H.  Greene,  and  W.  F.  Jacques  ;  Mr.  H.  Chilton- Young 
is  the  manager.  Owing  to  the  severe  drought  the  works  closed 
down  from  1899  to  1904.  No  slaughtering  is  done  at  this 
establishment. 

Chilling  Up- Country. — An  important  feature  of  the  freezing 
industry  which  was  about  the  beginning  of  the  nineties 
advocated  by  some  of  the  most  able  and  practical  men  con- 
nected with  sheep  raising  in  New  South  Wales,  was  the 
slaughter  of  the  sheep  as  near  to  their  pastures  as  possible, 
chilling  the  carcasses  there,  and  railing  the  chilled  mutton  to  port 
for  freezing.  Mr.  Robert  Hudson,  of  Melbourne  and  Sydney, 
was  the  first  man  to  introduce  this  chilling  at  inland  centres. 
Works  were  started  at  Narrandera  (Riverina)  and  at  Tenter- 
field  in  the  north.  Refrigerator  cars  were  attached  to  the 
trains  for  the  conveyance  of  the  meat  to  Sydney  for  freezing. 
The  works  were  well  equipped,  the  engineering  work  being 
undertaken  by  Messrs.  J.  Wildridge  and  Sinclair,  Ltd.  But 
neither  of  the  works  was  operated  very  successfully,  as  they 
had  to  compete  with  the  Homebush  market,  and  carriage  and 
freight  costs  were  against  the  enterprise.  The  Tenterfield  works 
were  dismantled  shortly  afterwards,  but  the  Narrandera  works 
are  still  in  operation,  and  are  even  to-day  being  refitted  to  deal 
with  sheep  for  export.  A  carload  of  mutton  from  Narrandera 


54    A  HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

was  offered  by  auction  by  Goldsbrough,  Mort  and  Co.  in 
1890,  this  handselling  of  the  up-country  scheme  representing 
\\d.  to  Ifd.  per  Ib. — a  poor  start !  The  late  Mr.  J.  H.  Geddes 
was  enthusiastic  in  recommending  this  system.  The  late 
Alexander  Bruce,  Chief  Inspector  of  Stock,  New  South  Wales, 
also  highly  approved  of  up-country  chilling,  which  was 
thoroughly  discussed  by  Mr.  Cuthbert  Fetherstonhaugh  in  his 
pamphlet  "  The  Meat  Export  Trade,"  published  in  1894.  The 
authors  acknowledge  indebtedness  for  information  to  this 
pamphlet  and  to  Mr.  Bruce's  "  The  Meat  Trade  of  Australia," 
1895.  On  this  basis  the  Young  Meat  Chilling  and  Export  Co. 
was  started  in  1892  with  a  guarantee  of  200,000  sheep  and  3,000 
cattle  yearly.  The  mutton  was  killed  and  chilled  at  Young, 
and  was  then  sent  down  in  a  refrigerated  car,  run  on  board 
a  specially  constructed  craft  at  Darling  Harbour,  and  towed 
across  to  Kirribilli  Point,  where  the  truck  was  unloaded  at  the 
works  right  into  the  freezing  rooms.  A  similar  plant  on  a 
rather  larger  scale  was  fitted  up  at  Dubbo,  and  one  also  at 
Gunnedah.  But  the  risks  and  costliness  of  this  method  put  it 
out  of  court ;  a  sheep  cost  2|d.  per  Ib.  to  kill  and  send  from 
Young  to  London.  The  sponsors  for  this  up-country  chilling 
took  their  cue  from  North  America,  where  it  was,  and  is, 
practised  extensively  (but  not  f or  freezing  afterwards). 

Riverina  Frozen  Meat  Co. — It  may  be  mentioned  that 
in  1892-1893  there  were  about  56,000,000  sheep  in  New 
South  Wales,  and  a  surplus  of  about  13,000,000  wethers  of 
fattening  ages,  and  it  was  desirable  that  steps  should  be  taken 
to  increase  freezing  facilities.  In  1892  Mr.  John  Cooke,  who 
had  gone  to  Melbourne  from  New  Zealand  in  1889,  promoted 
the  Riverina  Frozen  Meat  Co.,  which  built  its  works  at  Denili- 
quin,  New  South  Wales,  200  miles  from  Melbourne.  This  was 
the  first  concern  to  demonstrate  the  practicability  of  safely 
carrying  frozen  carcasses  long  distances  and  in  ordinary  insulated 
wagons  in  summer.  The  main  idea  was  to  supply  country- 
killed  and  frozen  mutton  and  lamb,  driven  short  distances 
from  their  own  pastures  to  the  works  and  thus  spared  the 
deterioration  resulting  from  long  railage  of  the  live  animals 
to  Melbourne.  The  first  directors  of  the  Riverina  Co.  were 


'--- 


THE  FREEZING   WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA 

Messrs.  John  Cooke,  Albert  Austin,  R.  O.  Blackwood,  8.  Frazer, 
L.  Kiddle,  J.  Raleigh,  and  R.  B.  Ronald.  Dalgety  and  Co., 
Goldsbrough,  Mort  and  Co.,  the  Australian  Mortgage  Land  and 
Finance  Co.,  and  the  Australian  Mortgage  and  Agency  Co. 
co-operated  with  Mr.  Cooke  in  securing  the  necessary  capital. 
The  first  shipment  of  meat  was  despatched  from  Melbourne  in 
1895  per  s.s.  Maori.  The  long  series  of  droughty  seasons  in 
the  Riverina  reduced  surplus  fat  stock  to  such  an  extent  that 
the  works  have  never  been  kept  going  steadily,  and,  indeed, 
have  perforce  remained  idle  for  several  consecutive  years. 
Mr.  Frank  Coxon,  the  well-known  Australian  consulting  and 
refrigerating  engineer,  says  of  the  Deniliquin  works  that  they 
were  at  the  time  of  their  erection  far  and  away  the  most  com- 
plete in  Australasia  or  elsewhere  for  the  economical  handling 
and  freezing  of  sheep,  and  although  certain  after-provisions 
were  made  for  the  treatment  of  a  limited  number  of  cattle, 
that  was  of  small  moment,  the  Riverina  not  being  a  large  beef- 
producing  district.  Everything,  he  adds,  went  exceedingly 
well  with  the  Deniliquin  works  until  the  great  drought  set  in, 
and  it  is  a  noteworthy  fact  that,  notwithstanding  that  those 
works  are  situated  about  245  miles  from  Melbourne,  the  port 
of  shipment,  shipmasters  and  others  who  have  handled  the 
meat  declare  that  it  is  as  good  as  the  best  frozen  and  hardest 
meat  shipped  from  that  port. 

Graziers'  Meat  Export  Co. — The  other  company  formed  in 
1892  to  build  works  inland  was  the  Graziers'  Meat  Export 
Co.  of  New  South  Wales,  capital  £250,000.  It  was  Mr. 
Fetherstonhaugh  who,  in  spite  of  the  apathy  of  the  squat- 
ters, worked  up  this  concern,  and  the  names  associated  with 
its  initiation,  in  addition  to  his,  were  W.  A.  Cottee,  T.  F. 
Knox,  George  Maiden,  W.  F.  Lawry,  F.  W.  Bacon,  W.  H. 
Armstrong,  and  George  Mair.  Works  were  put  up  at  Sandown 
(Parramatta  River),  Werris  Creek,  Carrathool,  Nyngan,  and 
Forbes.  Sandown  was  a  freezing  establishment,  the  other  four 
being  up-country  chilling  depots.  The  career  of  the  Graziers' 
Co.  was  disastrous,  and  about  1901  the  whole  of  the  works  were 
acquired  by  a  syndicate  of  London  capitalists  called  the  Austral 
Freezing  Works,  Ltd.,  the  country  works  being  dismantled 


56    A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

or  sold,  experience  having  proved  that  a  central  works  at 
Sydney,  where  the  supplies  of  fat  stock  from  nearly  all  parts 
of  the  State  are  marketed,  and  where  large  and  regular  freezing 
operations  are  possible,  is  essential  from  every  point  of  view. 
Sandown  only  is  now  worked — by  Messrs.  John  Cooke  and 
Co.,  who  took  it  over  from  the  Austral  Co.  in  1902. 

Sandown  Freezing  Works.— The  Sandown  undertaking  has 
been  extended  from  time  to  time,  and  can  now  treat  6,000 
sheep  and  150  bullocks  daily. 

From  the  above  short  history  regarding  country-killed 
frozen  meat  the  conclusion  may  be  drawn  that,  although  the 
principle  was  apparently  a  sound  one,  it  has  since  been  demon- 
strated that  such  meat,  whilst  admittedly  a  better  article  of 
food,  costs  more  and  does  not  command  an  enhanced  price 
over  that  railed  alive  to  the  seaboard  and  treated  there. 

In  August,  1911,  the  farmers  of  the  Byron  Bay  (north 
coast)  district  formed  "  the  Byron  Bay  Co-operative  Canning 
and  Freezing  Co.,"  capital  £50,000,  with  excellent  prospects 
of  founding  an  important  concern. 

Victoria. 

Newport  Freezing  Works.— Victoria  was  early  in  the  field, 
for  this  company,  formed  in  Melbourne  after  the  Strathleven 
shipment,  erected  works  at  Newport,  near  Melbourne,  the 
second  freezing  works  erected  in  Australasia.  The  Victorian 
Government  afterwards  acquired  Newport,  which  first  assumed 
commercial  export  shape  when  Mr.  John  Hotson  secured  a 
lease  of  the  works.  In  1893  Nelson  Brothers,  Ltd.,  and 
Mr.  Hotson  came  to  a  working  arrangement  to  freeze  for 
export  regularly  at  Newport.  In  1896  Mr.  Hotson  sold  out 
his  interest  to  the  Austral  Co.,  and  the  firm  of  John  Cooke  and 
Co.  has  ever  since  used  the  works  as  its  chief  base  for  preparing 
and  shipping  its  well-known  "  Champion  brand  "  of  mutton 
and  lamb.  Fuller  details  of  the  formation  and  operations 
of  these  works  appear  in  "  The  Work  of  the  Pioneers," 
Chapter  II. 

Portland   Freezing  Works.  —  These   works   were    built    in 


THE  FREEZING  WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA        67 

1805,  and  were  taken  over  in  1001  by  Messrs.  Thomas 
Borthwick  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  from  the  Portland  and  Western 
District  Freezing  Co.  The  daily  capacity  is  1,200  lambs; 
storage  capacity  25,000  carcasses  of  mutton.  Messrs.  Borthwick 
also  have  works  near  Melbourne. 

Western  Freezing  Co. — These  works  at  Geelong  also  date 
from  1805,  and  were  likewise  (in  1901)  acquired  by  London 
capitalists ;  the  purchasers,  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd., 
have  operated  the  works  regularly  up  to  the  present  time. 
Both  Messrs.  Fletcher's  works  and  those  of  the  Geelong  Har- 
bour Trust  (Corio  Freezing  Works  and  Abattoirs)  are  well 
designed  and  compact  establishments.  At  the  latter  works, 
which  were  opened  in  1909,  an  excellent  innovation  has  been 
introduced.  A  stream  of  water  flows  at  the  back  of  the 
slaughterers,  who,  in  killing,  throw  the  offal  behind  them,  and  the 
water  conveys  it  away  to  a  grating,  where  the  fat  is  collected. 

Government  Cool  Stores. — This  large  undertaking,  belong- 
ing to  the  City  Council,  established  in  the  heart  of  Melbourne, 
is  under  the  charge  of  Mr.  R.  Crowe,  and  turns  over  a  con- 
siderable quantity  of  frozen  lambs,  poultry,  and  sundries. 
The  Victorian  Government  have  decided  to  erect  works  of 
their  own  near  the  docks  at  a  cost  of  £75,000. 

W.  Angliss  and  Co. — One  of  the  large  freezing  works  of 
Australia  is  that  belonging  to  Messrs.  W.  Angliss  and  Co.,  at 
Footscray,  near  Melbourne.  The  Imperial  Freezing  Works 
were  opened  in  1905.  Messrs.  Angliss  also  own  works  in  Bourke 
Street,  Melbourne.  Mr.  A.  E.  Pitt,  64,  West  Smithfield,  B.C., 
is  the  London  agent  of  Messrs.  Angliss. 

Wimmera  Co-operative  Freezing  Works. — The  opening  of 
the  Wimmera  Co-operative  Freezing  Works  at  Murtoa, 
Victoria,  on  September  28,  1911,  marked  the  commencement 
of  yet  another  effort  to  make  up-country  freezing  establish- 
ments a  payable  proposition  in  Australia.  These  works, 
which  constitute  one  of  the  biggest  co-operative  schemes  in 
the  State,  cost  £45,000,  and  have  storage  accommodation 
for  40,000  carcasses,  and  are  capable  of  treating  2,500  a 
clay.  The  first  shipment — 10,000  lambs — was  made  on 
October  21. 


58    A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Four  other  freezing  works  in  Melbourne  occasionally  avail- 
able for  meat  export  are  :  The  Melbourne  Ice  Skating  and 
Refrigerating  Co. ;  Messrs.  J.  Bartram  and  Sons'  works,  Flinders 
Lane ;  Sennitt  and  Sons  Proprietary,  Ltd.,  Miller  Street ;  and 
the  Victorian  Butter  Factories  Co-operative  Co.,  Flinders 
Street. 


South  Australia  and  Western  Australia. 

Freezing  works  in  Adelaide,  South  Australia,  were  suggested 
as  early  as  1891.  The  Government  of  the  State  started  freez- 
ing by  building  State  refrigeration  works  at  Port  Adelaide, 
and  has  been  much  criticized  for  so  doing.  It  is  an  axiom 
that  the  Government  of  a  country  should  not  interfere  with 
private  enterprise.  But  where  private  enterprise  is  lacking  in 
a  young  country,  the  State  is  justified  in  stepping  in  to 
promote  and  conduct  an  industry  required  for  the  country's 
development.  About  1894,Mr.D.  J.  Gordon,  M.H.R.,then  com- 
mercial editor  of  the  Adelaide  Register,  strongly  advocated  the 
establishment  of  the  frozen  lamb  export  trade,  and  he  called 
a  meeting  for  the  discussion  of  the  subject.  Many  South 
Australian  leading  pastoralists  who  were  present  threw  cold 
water  on  the  proposal,  and  said  that  South  Australia  would 
never  be  a  lamb-exporting  country.  Capital  to  float  a  private 
company  formed  to  build  freezing  works  at  Port  Adelaide 
could  not  be  obtained.  Now  was  the  occasion  for  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  Colony  to  step  in. 

Port  Adelaide  Works. — The  influence  of  the  late  Hon. 
Thomas  Price,  leader  of  the  Labour  Party  in  the  South 
Australian  Parliament  from  1901,  and  afterwards  Premier,  and 
of  Sir  John  Cockburn,  Premier  in  1889 — 1890,  was  successful  in 
getting  the  Port  Adelaide  works  erected ;  this  establishment, 
equal  to  handling  300,000  sheep  and  lambs  yearly,  is  one  of 
the  largest  in  Australasia.  Mr.  Gordon's  spirited  advocacy  of 
the  lamb  export  trade  has  been  justified  by  the  considerable 
number  of  lambs  which  have  been  and  are  now  put  through 
these  works.  Exporting  was  begun  in  1895,  and  to  June  30, 
1911,  2,468,076  animals  had  been  frozen  for  export,  and  for  the 


THE  FREEZING   WORKS  OF  AUSTRALIA         .-,<) 

last  season  241,533  carcasses  were  shipped,  of  which  number 
195,000  were  lambs.  In  1006  it  was  apparent  that  the  works 
needed  enlargement  and  reconstruction  in  order  to  deal  effec- 
tively with  the  rush  of  lambs  that  had  to  be  handled  smartly 
during  the  short  lamb-freezing  season.  An  investigation  of 
the  latest  methods  adopted  by  the  New  Zealand  freezing  com- 
panies was  made  by  Mr.  C.  F.  G.  McCann  on  behalf  of  the 
Government  of  South  Australia,  and  as  the  result  of  the  special 
enquiries  made  by  this  gentleman  (who  is  now  Trades  Commis- 
sioner for  South  Australia  in  London)  the  Port  Adelaide  works 
were  considerably  enlarged  and  modernized,  especially  in  the 
direction  of  economical  treatment  of  the  by-products.  The 
only  other  exporting  freezing  works  in  the  State  is  the  works 
formerly  owned  by  the  Adelaide  Ice  and  Cold  Storage  Co. 
This  was  purchased  by  the  South  Australian  Government  in 
1910  for  £35,000.  So  the  State  has  the  monopoly  of  freezing 
for  export  in  South  Australia. 

Western  Fresh  Food  and  Ice  Co. — This  company  completed 
a  small  works  at  Fremantle,  Western  Australia  (which  also  has 
inland  freezing  establishments  at  Perth  and  Kalgoorlie),  in 
1906 ;  but  the  only  frozen  meat  export  taking  place  thence  has 
been  a  tentative  shipment  or  two  of  lambs  sent  to  London.  The 
Western  Australian  Government  are  going  to  erect  works 
at  Wyndham  and  other  ports  on  the  north-west  coast,  and  if 
the  intentions,  as  stated,  of  the  Bovril  Australian  Estates, 
Ltd.,  an  important  London  company,  are  carried  out,  the  cattle 
owners  of  North- Western  Australia  will  have  an  outlet  for 
their  stock  in  the  shape  of  a  meat  freezing  works  on  the 
northern  coast  line  of  Western  Australia. 


CHAPTER  IV 

NEW   ZEALAND   FREEZING   WORKS 

THE  frozen  meat  industry  in  New  Zealand  was  started  by  the 
large  sheep  owners  with  the  assistance  of  the  various  land, 
finance,  and  mercantile  companies,  and  it  may  be  said  that 
but  for  the  assistance  of  these  companies  there  would  not  have 
been  any  chance  of  the  industry  being  floated.  The  majority 
of  the  sheep  farmers  in  the  colony  were  so  involved,  and  the 
price  of  stock  was  so  low,  at  the  beginning  of  the  eighties,  that 
the  pastoral  industry  was  largely  in  the  hands  of  these  com- 
panies. The  early  shipments  of  frozen  meat  were  on  account 
of  the  growers,  and  were  consigned  to  the  various  financial 
companies  in  England  doing  business  with  the  Colony.  The 
freezing  companies  came  to  be  termed  "  farmers'  companies," 
many  of  them  simply  freezing  on  behalf  of  the  owners. 

The  progress  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  in  New  Zealand  can 
probably  be  best  reviewed  by  referring  to  the  establishment, 
one  after  another,  of  the  freezing  works  in  that  country. 

New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co. — The  first  enterprise  of  the 
kind  was  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.,  which  was  formed 
in  1881  with  freezing  works  at  Burnside,  near  Dunedin,  and  a 
few  years  afterwards  at  Oamaru.  This  concern,  though  the 
pioneer  company,  never  reached  any  great  proportions.  For 
some  time  the  directors  endeavoured  to  carry  on  purely  a 
freezing  business  ;  in  later  years  they  developed  into  a  buying 
company.  The  Dunedin  works  were  the  first  in  New  Zealand. 
The  first  directors  were  Messrs.  John  Roberts,  C.M.G. 
(Murray  Roberts  and  Co.),  W.  I.  M.  Larnach,  E.  B.  Cargill, 
E.  I.  Spence  (Dalgety  and  Co.),  Robert  Wilson,  A.  C.  Begg 
(Robert  Campbell  and  Co.,  Ltd.),  and  James  Shand.  The 
company  froze  the  meat  cargo  for  the  s.s.  Marsala — 
the  third  shipment — 8,506  carcasses  ;  this  shipment,  made 


U 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  61 

in  1883,  being  the  first  from  New  Zealand  by  steamship. 
The  company  also  loaded,  in  1883,  the  steamers  Sorrento, 
Fenatanton,  and  Ionic,  with  respectively,  8,295,  7,840,  and 
9,691  carcasses,  and  also  killed  for  the  Dunedin's  second 
voyage  8,295  sheep,  these  being  railed  to  the  Dunedin  and 
frozen  on  board.  The  British  King  also  sailed  in  the  same  year, 
1883,  with  some  10,000  carcasses.  In  1884  the  New  Zealand 
Refrigerating  Co.  froze  and  shipped  72,420  carcasses  up  to 
July,  and  up  to  July,  1885,  it  froze  and  shipped  77,370 
carcasses  and  54  cattle.  During  1885,  39,370  carcasses  of 
sheep  were  frozen  on  board  the  s.s.  Elderslie  at  Oamaru. 
The  freight  paid  on  the  mutton  carried  by  this  vessel  was 
2Jd.  per  Ib. 

Mr.  John  Roberts  remained  a  director  of  the  New  Zealand 
Refrigerating  Co.  till  1905,  when  it  was  wound  up  and 
absorbed  by  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  Mr.  Thomas  Brydone 
had  joined  the  board  in  1884,  and  these  two  gentlemen  always 
took  a  leading  part  in  the  development  of  the  trade.  The 
Otago  District  thus  started  the  frozen  meat  trade  in  New 
Zealand,  but  now  lags  far  behind,  being  outstripped  by  Canter- 
bury, and  Southland,  and  the  North  Island. 

Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  Co. — The  second  company  to  be 
formed  was  the  Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  and  Dairy  Produce 
Co.  with  a  capital  of  £20,000.  The  names  on  the  circular 
convening  the  meeting  on  November  11,  1881,  which  led  to  the 
formation  of  the  company,  were  : — John  Grigg,  of  Ashburton, 
John  Tinline,  of  Amuri,  and  John  Macfarlane,  of  Coldstream, 
Rangiora.  Mr.  John  Cooke,  then  Canterbury  manager  of  the 
New  Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.,  was 
largely  instrumental  in  the  formation  of  the  company ;  he  wrote 
to  the  gentlemen  named,  and  obtained  their  permission  to 
summon  the  meeting  in  their  names.  Messrs.  Frederick  Banks, 
William  Chrystall,  John  Cooke,  John  T.  Ford,  and  John  Grigg, 
were  the  first  directors,  Mr.  Frederick  Waymouth  being 
appointed  secretary,  pro  tern.  The  promoters,  naturally, 
knew  very  little  about  mechanical  refrigeration  then,  and  had 
to  grope  their  way  from  the  very  start.  There  was  the 
inevitable  "  battle  of  the  sites,"  and  Lyttelton  itself  being 


62     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

impossible,  they  selected  Belfast,  an  excellent  location,  as  it 
proved.  A  Haslam  refrigerating  machine  of  40,000  cubic  feet 
cooling  capacity  was  ordered.  The  company  was  fortunate  in 
getting  as  its  architect  and  engineer  Mr.  Frank  Coxon,  now  of 
Sydney. 

The  daily  killing  and  freezing  capacity  was  only  250  to  300 
carcasses  of  mutton,  and  it  was  predicted  by  many  business 
men  that  the  export  of  2,000  carcasses  weekly,  if  maintained, 
would  soon  deplete  the  flocks  of  Canterbury  and  bring  about 
something  like  a  meat  famine.  As  the  freezing  works  of  Canter- 
bury have  now  a  weekly  killing  and  freezing  capacity  of  fully 
150,000  sheep  and/or  lambs,  while  the  province  must  have  ex- 
ported nearer  thirty  than  twenty  million  carcasses  since  1883, 
such  prophecies  now  seem  very  absurd.  Slaughtering  began 
on  February  16,  1883,  and  in  April  the  first  shipment  was  made 
from  Belfast  on  the  s.s.  British  King.  Curiously  enough,  this 
vessel  was  built  at  Belfast,  Ireland,  and  she  was  commanded 
by  Captain  Kelly,  of  Belfast,  while  Mr.  John  Cooke  was  born 
in  Belfast,  a  somewhat  remarkable  chain  of  circumstances. 

For  about  five  years  the  Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  Co.,  which 
was  merely  a  freezing  company  not  operating  in  stock  or  the 
export  of  meat  on  its  own  account  at  all,  had  the  field  to 
itself.  Another  company  was  promoted,  and  some  capital 
raised,  but  it  did  not  even  buy  a  site  and  eventually  refunded 
to  the  applicants  the  money  subscribed.  One  of  the  leading 
features  of  the  Canterbury  Company  was  strict  adher- 
ence to  a  high  standard  of  quality,  including  an  absolute 
embargo  on  the  freezing  of  old  ewes.  Nothing  but  prime 
wethers  and  maiden  ewes  and  prime  lambs  were  accepted  by 
the  company  for  treatment,  and  the  directors  resisted  all 
pressure  to  relax  this  rule  ;  but  in  1890  ewe  mutton  was  taken 
for  freezing,  and  some  time  after  that  second  quality  lambs 
were  frozen  and  shipped.  The  company's  leading  brands  are 
"  C  F  M  Co  "  and  "  Diamond."  It  took  Belfast  six  years 
to  record  1,000,000  sheep  frozen.  In  1887  the  works  were 
enlarged  and  completely  remodelled ;  in  1889  by-products 
were  taken  in  hand ;  in  1893  a  Hall's  CO2  machine  was 
installed;  in  1896  a  Hercules  machine  was  added;  and  by 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  fi:J 

1908  the  works  had  a  capacity  of  6,000  sheep  and  lambs  per 
day,  and  storage  equal  to  120,000  carcasses.  In  1809  the 
company  established  works  at  Fairfield,  Ash  burton.  Works 
at  Pareora,  South  Canterbury,  were  opened  on  April  7,  1904 ; 
these  have  a  capacity  of  4,500  sheep  and  lambs  per  day,  and 
storage  space  equal  to  over  100,000  carcasses. 

The  question  of  freight  greatly  embarrassed  this  company's 
early  operations.  In  May,  1887,  the  company,  together  with 
Nelson  Brothers  and  the  Southland  company,  signed  a  contract 
wit  h  the  Tyser  Lane,  and  with  the  advent  of  the  Balmoral  Castle, 
the  first  Tyser  steamer  sent  out,  the  difficulty  about  tonnage 
gradually  disappeared.  The  capital  of  the  company  is  now 
£225,000,  and  during  the  twenty-five  years  of  freezing  the 
company  has  paid  in  all  191  per  cent,  dividend  on  the  ordinary 
shares.  The  present  directorate  is :  Messrs.  John  C.  N. 
Grigg,  James  Gough,  Sir  George  Clifford  (chairman),  George 
Humphreys,  and  R.  H.  Rhodes. 

Gear  Meat  Co. — The  next  freezing  concern  to  be  registered 
in  New  Zealand  was  the  Gear  Meat  Preserving  and  Freezing 
Co.  of  New  Zealand.  This  was  formed  in  November, 
1882,  for  the  purpose  of  acquiring  the  butchering  and  meat 
preserving  business  of  the  late  Mr.  James  Gear,  at  Wellington, 
in  the  North  Island.  The  slaughtering  capacity  at  the  start 
was  600  sheep  and  40  cattle  per  day  ;  at  the  present  time  it  is 
over  6,000  and  100  respectively.  The  refrigerating  system 
originally  employed  was  cold  air  compression,  afterwards  re- 
placed by  C0a  compression  machinery.  The  first  directors 
were  Messrs.  P.  A.  Buckley,  J.  Duthie,  R.  Greenfield,  W.  H. 
Levin,  J.  R.  Lysaght,  J.  McKelvie,  N.  Reid,  J.  S.  M.  Thomp- 
son, and  James  Gear,  managing  director.  The  present  board 
are  Messrs.  D.  Anderson,  H.  Beauchamp,  H.  D.  Bell,  J.  R. 
Blair,  A.  K.  Newman,  N.  Reid,  and  W.  H.  Millward,  chair- 
man and  managing  director,  and  the  secretary  is  Mr.  W.  H. 
Tripe.  Mr.  Gear  died  in  1911,  at  the  age  of  seventy-five, 
and  was  chairman  of  directors  up  to  the  time  of  his  death. 
With  a  consistent  policy  and  under  able  management  the 
Gear  Co.  has  had  a  very  successful  career.  It  possesses  one 
of  the  most  complete  freezing  establishments  in  Australasia. 


64     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Nelson  Brothers. — The  operations  of  Nelson  Brothers  have 
been  alluded  to ;  their  works  were  first  erected  at  Tomoana, 
and  afterwards  at  Waipukurau  and  Woodville.  The  company 
now  has  two  establishments  in  the  Hawke's  Bay  district — 
Tomoana  and  Gisborne.  Woodville  has  been  sold  to  a  bacon- 
curing  company,  and  Waipukurau  is  dismantled.  The  daily 
killing  capacity  and  the  sheep  storage  of  these  works  are  respec- 
tively 6,100  and  160,000.  Messrs.  Nelson  Brothers  also  have 
works  at  Hornby,  Canterbury  district.  The  company  built  the 
Ocean  Beach  works  at  the  Bluff,  now  owned  by  Messrs.  Birt 
and  Co.,  Ltd.,  of  London.  It  is  generally  considered  that  the 
most  carefully  conceived  plan  for  carrying  on  the  frozen 
meat  trade  was  that  proposed  by  Mr.  William  Nelson.  Many 
of  the  New  Zealand  sheep  growers  had  no  faith  in  the  perma- 
nency of  the  new  industry,  and  some  were  actively  in  oppo- 
sition, so  Mr.  Nelson,  who  formed  clear  ideas  as  to  buying 
arrangements  in  New  Zealand  and  a  selling  organization  in 
London,  entered  into  contracts  with  farmers  in  various  dis- 
tricts. In  1887-88  Nelson  Brothers  made  forward  contracts 
with  sheep  farmers,  giving  2d.  per  Ib.  for  the  carcass  unfrozen, 
sellers  also  getting  the  full  value  of  the  skin  and  fat. 

The  Christchurch  Meat  Co. — In  1888  it  was  made 
quite  clear  that  many  producers  were  dissatisfied  with  the 
system  of  consigning  their  meat  to  London  for  sale,  and 
that  they  wished  to  determine  their  risks  by  selling  their 
stock  alive  to  a  freezing  company  or  a  speculative  exporter. 
Up  to  that  time  freezing  had  been  carried  on  by  the  larger 
growers  and  stock  owners.  The  farmer,  in  contradistinction  to 
the  sheep  grower  or  squatter,  realized  that  he  was  not 
obtaining  for  his  stock  a  price  equivalent  to  what  was  being 
realized  by  those  who  were  freezing  and  shipping  sheep.  He 
himself  had  not  the  large  supplies  to  draw  from  to  enable  him 
to  contract  forward  for  freezing  space,  or  to  make  regular 
shipments  to  London.  The  late  Mr.  James  Watt,  and  the 
late  Mr.  Peter  Cunningham,  in  conjunction  with  Mr.  John 
Cooke,  were  mainly  instrumental  in  forming  the  Christchurch 
Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  a  concern  established  to  conduct  the 
business  on  new  methods.  The  old  Templeton  preserving 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  ftt 

works  and  property  were  acquired,  the  name  being  changed 
to  Islington.  Thus  the  Islington  freezing  factory  came  into 
existence.  The  first  directors  of  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co., 
Ltd.,  were  Messrs.  J.  M.  Watt,  John  Cooke,  David  Morrow, 
Joseph  Murgatroyd,  Mcgregor  Watt,  Peter  Cunningham,  and 
S.  K.  Bassett.  The  present  directors  are  Messrs.  H.  A.  Knight 
(chairman),  Thomas  Teschemaker,  John  Roberts,  C.M.G., 
and  the  Hon.  H.  F.  Wigram.  Mr.  Wm.  Murray  is  manager, 
and  Mr.  W.  O.  Campbell  is  secretary. 

A  word  or  two  may  here  be  said  about  the  London  repre- 
sentation of  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  In  1896  the  company 
decided  to  send  Mr.  John  A.  Randall  to  supervise  its  interests 
in  London.  Mr.  Randall  had  a  thorough  knowledge  of  the 
trade  from  a  farmer's  point  of  view ;  he  remained  in 
London  for  about  a  year,  until  Mr.  Robert  Galloway,  the 
company's  manager  at  Timaru,  was  sent  to  London  as  the 
representative.  On  Mr.  Galloway  leaving  to  join  the  firm  of 
Gordon,  Woodroffe  and  Co.  in  1900,  Mr.  Randall  again  took 
charge.  On  Mr.  Randall's  early  and  regretted  death  in  1901, 
Mr.  A.  W.  Pottinger  took  the  position,  which  he  held  till 
1905.  From  1905  to  1910  Mr.  William  Henderson  represented 
the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  at  West  Smithfield,  and  on  his  term 
of  agreement  expiring  he  returned  to  New  Zealand,  when  he 
was  succeeded  by  Mr.  F.  T.  Boys,  the  company's  secretary  at 
Christchurch  ;  Mr.  Boys  is  the  London  manager  at  the  present 
time ;  the  office  is  at  64,  West  Smithfield,  E.G. 

At  the  company's  start  the  slaughtering  capacity  was  500 
sheep  per  day,  and  now  it  is  about  15,000  and  100  cattle  at 
the  Islington,  Smithfield,  Picton,  Oamaru,  and  Burnside  works. 
Cold  air  refrigerating  machinery  was  originally  used,  but  the 
ammonia  compression  system  is  now  employed.  The  successful 
starting  of  the  company  took  place  at  the  beginning  of 
the  era  of  the  modern,  well  equipped,  freezing  works.  The 
Christchurch  Meat  Co.  was  really  founded  in  the  interests  of 
the  small  farmer  who  could  not  afford  to  consign  his  meat 
to  London,  or  whose  stock  available  for  freezing  was  not 
considerable  enough  for  him  to  undertake  the  export  trade. 
The  company  pooled  these  farmers'  lots. 

F.M.  F 


Mr.  John  Cooke  sends  the  following  remarks  concerning  the 
new  conditions  then  introduced  :  "  The  rivalry  created  between 
the  two  freezing  companies  was  very  beneficial  to  producing 
interests,  as  not  only  did  it  ensure  full  values,  but  it  proved  a 
great  stimulus  to  breeding  and  fattening  ;  indeed,  the  example 
shown  to  the  rest  of  New  Zealand  is  admitted  to  have  been 
one  of  the  most  important  factors  in  the  great  progress  of  the 
Colony  during  the  last  twenty  years.  Prior  to  1883  there  were 
periods  of  great  depression  in  values  of  stock  and  landed 
property,  but  the  frozen  meat  industry  quickly  provided  a 
huge  outlet,  and  gave  a  permanence  to  pastoral  and  agricultural 
enterprise  which  cannot  be  disputed.  I  remember  seeing 
shorn  sheep  sold  by  the  score  because  the  price  was  so  low 
that  they  had  hardly  any  value  per  head.  The  pelts  after  the 
wool  was  taken  off  were  so  valueless  at  one  time  that  the 
cheapest  method  of  disposing  of  them  was  by  burying  them  in 
pits  immediately  they  left  the  puller's  beam. 

"  One  of  the  initial  obstacles  to  the  speedy  expansion  of  the 
trade  was  the  scarcity  of  refrigerated  space,  and  the  greatest 
trouble  was  experienced  by  freezing  companies  (1)  in  getting 
sufficient  insulated  tonnage,  and  (2)  in  obtaining  a  reasonable 
rate  of  freight.  The  rate  of  freight  was  originally  2fd.  per  lb., 
including  freezing  on  board  ship,  but  when  steamers  were 
introduced  a  reduction  to  Ifd.  per  lb.  was  secured,  at  which  it 
stood  for  some  time.  The  total  charges  for  treatment,  freight, 
insurance,  and  selling,  were  originally  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
3d.  per  lb.,  a  figure  which  was  prohibitive  if  the  trade  was  to 
assume  any  magnitude,  and  having  regard  to  the  undoubted 
prejudice  which  frozen  meat  had  originally  to  contend  with 
at  the  hands  of  the  British  consumer. 

"  Generally  speaking,  the  shipowners  from  the  outset  recog- 
nized the  wisdom  of  friendly  and  active  co-operation  with  the 
freezing  companies,  but  they  made  one  serious  blunder  which 
producers  and  freezing  companies  deeply  resented,  but  which, 
fortunately,  was  quickly  remedied.  They  allied  themselves 
with  certain  manufacturers  of  refrigerating  machinery  under  an 
agreement  whereby  the  manufacturer  was  to  supply  their 
steamers  alone  with  his  plant,  while  the  shipowner  was  to  use 


: 


•ft- 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  67 

that  special  plant  exclusively.  By  that  attempted  restraint  it 
was  expected  that  outside  refrigerated  tonnage  would  be 
excluded  from  New  Zealand,  and  that  further  reduction  on 
freight  would  be  prevented. 

"  One  of  the  great  ambitions  of  the  directors  of  the 
Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  Co.,  actively  led  by  the  late 
Mr.  John  Grigg,  was  to  get  the  rate  of  freight  reduced  to  the 
'  round  Id.  per  lb.,'  and  when  this  was  accomplished,  with  the 
assistance  of  the  Into  .Mr.  W.  H.  Tyser,  there  was  great 
rejoicing  in  pastoral  circles.  This  brought  the  consolidated 
charges  down  to  under  2d.  per  lb.,  and  was  the  means  of  stimu- 
lating production  all  over  the  South  Island  in  a  remarkable 
way." 

The  first  venture  undertaken  by  the  Christchurch  Meat 
Co.  was  killing  the  stock  at  Islington,  and  freezing  on 
board  the  sailing  ship  Wellington.  This  shipment,  which 
realized  remarkably  good  prices,  consisted  mainly  of  lambs, 
and  was  handled  by  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and  Co.,  who  had  just 
started  in  business  when  the  cargo  was  entrusted  to  them. 
The  cargo  was  sold  splendidly.  The  prices  realized  would 
make  shippers'  mouths  water  to-day  ;  from  6d.  to  9d.  per  lb. 
was  fetched  for  lambs !  The  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  saw 
that  if  it  was  to  carry  out  the  wishes  of  the  farmer, 
it  must  be  in  a  position  to  do  the  work  thoroughly,  and, 
therefore,  special  attention  was  paid  to  working  up  the  by- 
products. Up  to  this  time  the  pelts  and  the  largest  portion 
of  the  viscera  were  simply  buried,  in  many  works  even  the 
blood  was  allowed  to  run  to  waste.  The  Christchurch  Meat 
Co.'s  first  concern  was  to  utilize  these  by-products,  and 
to  work  up  a  scheme  which  would  result  in  the  company 
making  the  greater  proportion  of  its  profits  out  of  these  and 
the  skin  and  fat,  looking  on  the  meat  mainly  as  a  by-product 
of  the  works. 

Within  two  years  of  the  start  of  the  company's  opera- 
tions, that  is,  in  1891,  Mr.  Gilbert  Anderson  was  asked 
to  take  up  the  position  of  managing  director,  and  it  was 
under  his  management  that  the  scheme  just  mentioned  was 
carried  out,  and  that  the  general  organization  of  the  company's 

F  2 


68     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

business  was  brought  up  to  an  excellent  standard.  Special 
attention  was  given  to  grading  the  sheep,  not  only  for  quality, 
but  for  weight.  This  enabled  the  c.i.f.  business  to  be  put  on  a 
proper  footing,  and  the  standard  and  grades  which  were 
established  at  these  works  have  been  extensively  adopted 
throughout  the  New  Zealand  freezing  industry. 

The  Christchurch  Meat  Co.,  in  1893,  took  over  the  works 
and  business  of  the  South  Canterbury  Freezing  Co. 
at  Timaru.  In  two  years'  time  these  works  were  enlarged,  and 
named  Smithfield.  Another  absorption  took  place  in  1899, 
when  the  Wairau  Freezing  Co.'s  business  was  taken  over, 
this  necessitating  the  erection  of  new  and  modern  works 
at  Picton.  In  1905  the  company  absorbed  the  New  Zealand 
Refrigerating  Co.,  with  its  works  at  Burnside,  Dunedin ; 
and  Oamaru.  The  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  has  always 
been  progressive,  enterprising,  and  modern.  In  1906  Mr. 
Anderson  retired  from  the  company. 

Wellington  Meat  Export  Co. — The  Wellington  Meat  Export 
Co.  was  incorporated  in  September,  1881,  as  a  farmers' 
freezing  company.  The  late  William  Dilnot  Sladden,  who 
joined  the  company  as  manager,  later  added  the  c.i.f.  principle 
to  the  business  ;  Mr.  F.  D.  Sladden,  his  son,  is  the  present 
secretary.  This  company  has  shown  considerable  enterprise 
in  the  utilization  of  new  machinery,  the  directors  being  the 
first  to  introduce  ammonia  refrigerating  machines  into  use 
at  freezing  works.  The  company's  works  have  been  recently 
rebuilt  in  brick,  and  raised  to  a  killing  capacity  of  6,000  sheep 
per  day  with  a  storage  capacity  of  150,000,  the  freezing 
capacity  at  the  start  being  only  300  sheep  per  day.  The 
producer  gas  system  has  been  introduced  for  power,  driving 
not  only  the  refrigerating  machines  but  also  the  by-pro- 
ducts machinery.  Hercules  ammonia  compression  machinery 
cooling  on  the  direct  expansion  system  is  now  installed,  the 
plant  used  at  the  beginning  of  operations  being  the  Haslam 
air  compression  machine.  The  first  directors  were  Messrs.  W. 

C.  Buchanan,  W.  Booth,  George  Beetham,  J.  T.  Dalrymple, 
H.  H.  Lang,  J.  R.  Lysaght,  J.  E.  Nathan,  Chas.  Pharazin,  and 

D.  Peat.      The  present  directors  are  Messrs.  W.  G.  Foster 


-'•$ 
Jflfl 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING  WORKS      W 

(managing  director),  W.  C.  Buchanan,  M.P.,  W.  H.  Beetham, 
Charles  Elgar,  E.  Newman,  M.P.,  J.  W.  Marshall,  and 
J.  Campion. 

Longburn  Freezing  Co. — The  Longburn  Freezing  Co. 
was  established  in  1895  ;  Longburn  is  80  miles  from  Welling- 
ton, on  the  main  line  of  railway.  The  original  directors  were 
Means.  C.  Bull  (chairman),  J.  McLennan,  R.  S.  Abraham,  J. 
O.  Batchelor,  D.  Buick,  and  —  Howard ;  Mr.  J.  Beale  was 
manager.  The  original  slaughtering  capacity  was  800  sheep 
and  25  cattle  per  day.  Now  the  works  can  slaughter  1,000 
sheep  and  80  cattle  daily,  and  the  storage  space  is  equal  to 
25,000  carcasses.  Haslam  machines  were  first  installed,  Linde 
plant  now  being  used.  In  1896  the  company  was  taken  over 
by  the  National  Mortgage  and  Agency  Co.  of  New  Zealand. 
Mr.  J.  Anderson  is  the  manager  of  the  Longburn  Freezing 
Company. 

Auckland  Farmers'  Freezing:  Co. — The  Auckland  Farmers' 
/.ing  Co.  was  established  in  1903,  the  works  being 
completed  and  killing  started  in  March,  1905.  The  capital  of 
the  company  is  £75,000,  of  which  £43,830  has  been  issued, 
and  the  directors  are  Messrs.  J.  Barugh  (chairman),  J.  E. 
Makgill,  H.  E.  Worsp,  G.  Goodwin,  S.  Wing,  S.  J.  Ambury, 
and  L.  J.  Bagnall ;  with  Mr.  H.  G.  Stringer  as  manager 
and  secretary.  The  daily  killing  capacity  is  1,600  sheep 
and  100  cattle,  and  the  storage  space  is  equal  to  45,000 
carcasses.  Haslam  ammonia  compression  machines  are  em- 
ployed. The  Auckland  Farmers'  Freezing  Co.  in  1906  bought 
out  the  Auckland  Freezing  Co.,  which  was  established  in 
1884.  The  farmers  of  the  province  thereupon  decided  to 
build  works  of  their  own,  and,  negotiations  with  the  pro- 
prietors of  the  old  company  having  failed,  they  erected 
works  at  Southdown,  near  Auckland.  In  1906,  as  stated, 
the  Farmers'  Co.  took  over  the  Auckland  works  of  the  old 
company.  The  stock  and  offal  are  frozen  at  Southdown  and 
railed  to  the  ship's  side,  and  the  local  freezing  is  done  at  the 
Auckland  works. 

Wanganui  Meat  Freezing  Co. — The  Wanganui  Meat  Freez- 
ing Co.,  Ltd.,  was  established  in  1891  at  the  mouth 


70     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  the  Wanganni  river.  The  first  directors  were  Messrs.  E.  A. 
Campbell  (chairman),  A.  Burnett,  H.  Cornfoot,  J.  B.  Murray, 
A.  J.  Parsons,  G.  S.  Robertson,  William  Ritchie,  and  John 
Stevenson.  Mr.  C.  M.  Cresswell,  the  secretary,  states  that 
when  operations  were  started,  and  for  a  few  years  afterwards, 
the  output  of  the  works  was  nearly  all  sheep,  with  a  few  cattle. 
Now  more  lambs  than  sheep  are  put  through,  and  the  quality 
of  the  lamb  is  improving  year  by  year,  owing  mainly  to  the  use 
in  the  district  of  Southdown  rams.  Twenty  years  ago  the 
sheep  round  Wanganui  were  nearly  all  Lincoln,  since  then 
Romney  and  Leicester  rams  have  been  largely  used  for 
general  purposes  and  the  Down  ram  for  lamb  raising.  The 
Wanganui  works  have  a  killing  capacity  of  3,500  sheep  a 
day,  with  a  storage  capacity  of  60,000  carcasses. 

Qisborne  Sheepfarmers'  Frozen  Meat  Co. — The  Gisborne 
Sheepfarmers'  Frozen  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  started  work  in 
1902.  The  first  directors  were  Messrs.  C.  A.  de  Lautour, 
(chairman),  F.  B.  Barker,  W.  R.  Barker,  John  Clark,  William 
Cooper,  W.  K.  Chambers,  F.  Hall,  E.  M.  Hutchinson,  P.  T. 
Kenway,  and  W.  D.  Lysnar.  The  board  at  present  is  com- 
posed of  Messrs.  C.  A.  de  Lautour  (chairman),  F.  B.  Barker,  W. 
R.  Barker,  W.  K.  Chambers,  Charles  Gray,  E.  M.  Hutchinson, 
F.  Hall,  John  Clark,  F.  Holden,  and  C.  J.  Parker.  Mr.  W.  F. 
Cederwell  has  been  manager  from  the  beginning.  The 
slaughtering  capacity  at  date  of  establishment  was  800 
sheep  per  day  ;  now  it  is  4,500,  and  150  cattle.  A  Hercules 
refrigerating  machine  cooling  on  the  direct  expansion  system 
is  installed.  The  company  was  formed  on  co-operative  lines  ; 
in  1908  £30,000  was  paid  in  wages. 

Waitara  Freezing  Works. — The  Waitara  Freezing  Works 
were  purchased  in  1902  by  Messrs.  Thomas  Borthwick  and 
Sons,  Ltd.  The  directors  of  the  old  company  when  taken  over 
were  Messrs.  G.  Riddell,  E.  H.  Godsal,  J.  Hine,  A.  A.  Fantham, 
H.  Goode,  and  G.  Bailey.  The  works  were  destroyed  by  fire 
in  1904,  and  were  rebuilt  on  an  enlarged  plan  in  the  following 
year.  The  daily  capacity  is  now  150  cattle  and  750  sheep, 
and  the  storage  capacity  is  equal  to  40,000  carcasses. 

Hastings  Freezing  Works. — The  Hastings  Freezing  Works, 


TUB  FUKKZIM;  WUKKS  OK  THE  «;IMI«>UNK  SHKKI--KAKMKKS,  KKUZKN  MEAT  co.,  LTD., 

NEW    X.KAI.ANH. 

To  fact  p.  70. 


NEW   /I  ALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  71 

Paki-Paki,  Hawko's  Bay,  wore  croctod  by  Messrs .  Borthwick 
in  1905.  The  daily  capacity  is  30  cattle  and  2,000  sheep, 
u  ith  a  storage  capacity  of  30,000  carcasses  of  mutton. 

The  Wellington  Farmers'  Meat  Co. — This  company  was 
formed  in  1909.  The  Board  consists  of  the  following  gentle- 
men : — Messrs.  J.  C.  Cooper  (chairman),  R.  Clephane,  F.  B. 
Lowes,  J.  R.  Franklin,  R.  D.  MoKenzie,  T.  Hodgins,  and 
George  Pain.  The  works  are  situated  near  Masterton, 
Wairarapa,  and  the  daily  slaughtering  capacity  is  equal  to  the 
handling  of  over  2,000  sheep. 

The  Nelson  Freezing  Co. — This  company  began  shipping  in 
1908.  The  directors  are  : — Messrs.  George  MacMahon  (chair- 
man), A.  Drummond,  F.  W.  Fairey,  Frank  Hamilton,  D.  T.  J. 
Rouse,  and  J.  8.  Wratt.  The  works  are  at  Stoke,  and  the 
capacity  is  given  as  1,000  sheep  per  day,  with  storage  equal 
to  30,000  carcasses. 

The  Ocean  Beach  Works,  Bluff  (owned  by  Birt  and  Co., 
Ltd.),  were  erected  in  1891 ;  the  North  British  and  Hawke's 
Bay  Freezing  Co.  (Napier  Works)  were  built  in  1888 ;  the 
Patea  Farmers'  Co-operative  Freezing  Co.,  began  exporting 
meat  in  1904 ;  the  Southland  Frozen  Meat  and  Produce 
Export  Co.,  formed  in  1884,  has  works  at  Mataura  and  the 
Bluff ;  and  the  Tokomaru  Sheepfarmers'  Freezing  Co.  began 
shipping  in  1911. 

Such  are  the  particulars  of  the  establishment  and  progress 
of  New  Zealand's  meat  freezing  works.  A  full  list  of  these 
works  in  the  Dominion  will  be  found  in  Appendix  VII.  Refer- 
ence may  now  be  made  in  a  general  way  to  the  process  of 
development  under  which  the  meat  works  of  to-day  have 
attained  their  fine  equipment  and  completeness. 

Refrigerating  Installations. — Of  course,  the  meat  works  in 
the  early  eighties  were  primitive  affairs.  Freezing  for  export 
was  quite  a  speculation,  and  there  were  many  "  doubting 
Thomases "  in  New  Zealand,  either  actively  or  passively 
antagonistic  to  the  new  industry.  The  scale  of  shipments  was 
small,  both  on  account  of  the  limited  capacity  of  vessels  and 
limited  trade  in  England.  So,  everything  was  elementary,  and 
the  design  and  equipment  of  the  freezing  establishments  were 


72     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

crude.  As  time  went  on  and  the  market  value  in  England  of 
frozen  meat  fell,  it  was  naturally  found  necessary  to  effect 
economy  in  the  general  organization  of  the  works.  About 
1890  it  was  plain  that  the  actual  freezing  was  costing  too 
much.  The  cold  air  machine  had  been  used  successfully, 
but  it  was  expensive  in  the  matter  of  fuel  consumed.  British 
engineers  were  not  alert  in  meeting  the  felt  want,  and  New 
Zealanders  had  to  go  to  America  to  gain  information.  The 
British  refrigerating  machinery  manufacturers,  as  soon  as  they 
saw  their  business  being  threatened,  set  themselves  to 
supply  an  economical  freezing  machine,  with  the  result  that 
the  Haslam  and  the  Linde  ammonia  machines,  and  Hall's  COa 
machine,  are  the  types  of  refrigerating  plant  used  in  New 
Zealand  to-day.  The  American  Hercules  ammonia  machine 
is  found  at  some  works.  A  Linde  "  Disc  "  machine  installed 
in  the  new  works  of  the  Wellington  Meat  Export  Co.  was  the 
first  departure  from  the  cold  air  principle.  This  was  followed 
by  ammonia  machines  cooling  on  the  direct  expansion  system 
being  fitted  at  Islington,  and  by  Hall's  carbonic  acid  machines 
cooling  on  the  brine  system  at  Belfast. 

In  1891  there  were  seventeen  freezing  works  in  New  Zealand, 
with  a  total  freezing  capacity  of  3,665,000  sheep  a  year,  and  in 
1911  the  number  of  works  had  increased  to  31,  with  a  capacity 
for  dealing  with  82,000  sheep  per  day. 

The  Operations  at  a  New  Zealand  Meat  Works. — In  New 
Zealand  the  invariable  practice  is  to  have  the  whole  works 
complete  in  a  series  of  buildings.  The  stock  are  brought  by  rail 
or  road  to  the  drafting  yards.  All  stock  suitable  for  freezing 
are  carefully  drafted,  and  animals  not  suitable  for  freezing  are 
either  sent  back  to  the  farms  or  killed  for  tinning.  The  stock 
after  leaving  the  yards  are  driven  into  carefully  constructed 
abattoirs,  where  they  are  readily  handled  by  the  slaughter- 
men under  the  very  best  approved  sanitary  conditions.  The 
stock  are  then  killed  and  dressed,  and  the  offal  is  at  once  re- 
moved to  the  buildings  for  treating  the  by-products.  The 
carcasses  are  carefully  cleaned,  dressed,  graded,  weighed,  and 
passed  into  the  cooling  room.  In  most  of  the  New  Zealand 
slaughterhouses  the  cooling  room  is  constructed  in  such  a 


NEW  ZEALAND  FREEZING   WORKS  78 

manner  as  to  allow  for  a  rapid  current  of  air,  which  quickly 
cools  down  and  "  seta  "  the  carcass.  In  the  northern  portion 
of  New  Zealand,  and  in  most  of  the  Australian  work*,  the 
cooling  has  to  be  assisted  by  artificial  means — brine  pipes  or 
cool  air.  As  soon  as  the  carcasses  are  "  set,"  they  are  con- 
veyed— invariably  by  overhead  rail — to  the  freezing  rooms, 
which  are  long  narrow  apartments  where  the  carcasses  remain 
suspended  from  the  rails  till  they  are  hard  frozen.  The  actual 
time  taken  in  freezing  varies  according  to  the  lowness  of  the 
temperature  applied,  and  ranges  from  36  to  60  hours.  As  soon 
as  the  carcasses  are  frozen  thoroughly  hard,  bags  are  put  on, 
with  numbers  corresponding  to  the  tickets — indicating  the 
grade  and  quality — which  have  been  attached  to  the  carcasses 
when  graded.  Immediately  after  bagging,  the  carcasses  are 
fit  to  go  into  the  store  room,  where  they  are  stacked  up  one 
on  top  of  the  other,  the  various  marks  and  numbers  being 
kept  separate  until  ready  for  shipment.  The  frozen  sheep 
and  lambs  are  loaded  direct  into  insulated  railway  vans  and 
conveyed  to  the  steamer.  In  almost  all  the  New  Zealand  ports 
the  steamers  are  provided  with  loading  port-holes.  Canvas 
awnings  are  spread  between  the  dock  and  the  steamer,  and 
the  carcasses  are  passed  rapidly  from  the  vans  along  wooden 
shoots  through  the  portholes  into  the  refrigerated  holds  of  the 
vessels. 

This  rough  sketch  of  the  operations  at  a  New  Zealand  freez- 
ing works  conveys  but  a  poor  idea  of  the  thorough  methods 
and  scientific  management  now  practised  in  the  meat  freezing 
industry  of  the  Dominion.  The  figures  and  facts  given  by  Sir 
Joseph  Ward  in  Chapter  XXII.  show  at  a  glance  the  splendid 
results  flowing  from  the  meat  freezing  industry,  and  these 
results — the  direct  outcome  of  the  operations  at  the  freezing 
works — indicate  a  very  considerable  effectiveness  in  the  general 
system  and  management  of  the  frozen  meat  industry  in  New 
Zealand. 


CHAPTER   V 

THE   SOUTH   AMERICAN   FRIGORIFICOS 

THE  story  of  the  rise  and  development  of  the  Argentine 
frigorifico,  or  freezing  works,  could  be  made  romantic,  so 
abounding  with  stirring  events  has  it  been.  The  tale  of  the 
beginnings  of  the  freezing  industry  in  South  America  has 
been  told  in  the  chapter  of  this  book  in  which  the  authors 
have  endeavoured  to  immortalize  some  of  refrigeration's 
pioneers.  From  these  beginnings,  founded  partly  with  British 
capital,  great  successes  have  arisen,  though  the  movements  of 
the  Argentine  meat  exporting  companies  have  not  been 
uniformly  forward  nor  financially  successful  year  by  year. 
But  the  results  achieved,  both  in  the  dividends  to  shareholders 
and  the  establishment  of  a  splendid  industry,  helpful  to  both 
the  estanciero  and  the  meat  exporter,  form  a  record  of  which 
all  persons  engaged  in  the  business  may  well  be  proud.  The 
descent  upon  Argentina  of  the  North  American  "  Trust "  houses 
has  been  the  most  startling  event  in  the  later  stages  of  the 
Argentine  meat  export  industry,  and  it  is  a  subject  of  frequent 
discussion  how  far-reaching  that  important  happening  is  des- 
tined to  be  in  future  developments. 

Before  describing  the  various  meat  freezing  enterprises  in 
Argentina  and  their  development,  it  may  be  well  briefly  to 
review  the  growth  of  the  industry  in  that  country.  The  first 
period  of  the  freezing  industry  in  Argentina  may  be  said  to 
have  closed  in  1899,  up  to  the  end  of  which  year  442,000,000 
kilos,  of  mutton  and  29,000,000  kilos,  of  beef  were  exported  by 
the  three  great  concerns  (Sansinena's,  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat 
Co.,  and  Las  Palmas  [J.  Nelson  and  Sons] )  which  held  the  field 
without  competition.  The  shipments  of  mutton  year  by  year 
showed  wonderful  expansion.  Frozen  beef  was  shipped 
irregularly  up  to  1895,  in  which  year  this  section  of  the  Argen- 
tine meat  trade  was  begun  in  earnest.  It  is  worth  giving  the 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN   FRIGORIFICOS          75 

figures  to  show  the  rate  of  increase  :  1895,  1,587,000  kilos. ; 
1896,  2,996,000;  1897,  4,241,000;  1898,  5,867,000;  1899, 
9,079,000.  Increases  were  shown  in  the  shipment  of  this 
article  right  away  from  1895  to  1906.  During  this  period  lambs 
were  of  no  account ;  in  1897  12,000  were  shipped  to  England, 
but  after  that  the  shipments  were  reduced,  and  thus  did  not 
compete  with  the  increasing  Australasian  trade  in  this  article. 


The  Live  Cattle  Trade  and  its  Stoppage. 

The  closing  of  the  English  ports  to  Argentine  cattle  in  1900, 
owing  to  the  outbreak  in  the  Republic  of  foot-and-mouth 
disease,  was  a  great  stimulus  to  the  frigorificos.  The  serious 
disturbance  caused  by  the  crisis  is  seen  in  the  fact  that  the 
respective  values  of  live  stock  and  frozen  meat  exported  in 
1899  were  $8,482,511  and  $2,665,073,  gold.  The  import  of 
Argentine  live  stock  into  Great  Britain  was  prohibited  by  an 
Order  under  the  Contagious  Diseases  (Animals)  Act  after 
April  30  of  that  year.  For  the  four  years  1896  to  1899 
Argentine  fat  cattle  imported  into  English  markets  had 
averaged  80,000  head  ;  sheep,  380,000  ;  and  the  sudden  cessa- 
tion of  these  considerable  imports  had,  of  course,  a  dislocating 
effect  for  the  time  upon  the  various  industries  at  the  export 
end,  also  causing  much  embarrassment  to  the  cattle  salesmen 
and  "  carcass  butchers  "  in  Great  Britain.  The  shippers  in 
the  United  States  in  the  following  year  increased  their 
despatches  of  live  cattle  and  sheep  heavily.  In  1903,  from 
March  1  to  June  13,  British  ports  were  again  opened  to  Argen- 
tine live  stock,  and  110,000  animals  were  shipped  in  that 
period.  Great  pressure  had  been  brought  to  bear  upon  the 
Government  to  take  this  step,  which,  however,  in  the  opinion 
of  practical  persons,  was  unwise.  Upon  the  discovery  of  foot- 
and-mouth  disease  in  cattle  sent  to  South  Africa  and  Great 
Britain,  the  ports  were  again  closed,  and,  taking  all  things  into 
consideration,  it  is  doubtful  if  they  will  ever  be  again  opened 
to  Argentine  live  stock. 

The  high-water  mark  of  the  importation  of  live  stock  from 
all  countries  for  slaughter  in  British  markets  was,  for  cattle, 


76     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

643,000  head,  in  1890,  and  for  sheep,  1,056,000,  in  1895. 
The  dead  meat  trade,  preferable  in  every  way,  has  forged 
ahead  steadily,  and  imports  of  North  American  live  stock  will 
probably  soon  be  a  thing  of  the  past. 

Although  the  above  remarks  are  somewhat  of  a  digression, 
it  is  well  to  place  on  record  the  circumstances  which  led  to  the 
stoppage  of  the  Argentine  live  stock  exports  to  Great  Britain. 
This  undoubtedly  placed  the  frigorifico  men  in  a  stronger 
position — it  gave  them  cheaper  stock  to  buy  at  home  and  an 
expanded  market  in  Great  Britain.  Frozen  meat  production 
increased  by  leaps  and  bounds  ;  the  export  in  1900  to  Great 
Britain  was  76,338  tons,  and  in  1903  this  had  grown  to  131,000 
tons.  The  triennial  period,  1901  to  1903,  Dr.  Berges  (of  the 
national  bacteriological  institute  of  Buenos  Aires,  the 
chronicler  of  the  records  of  Argentina's  meat  export  industry) 
terms  Argentina's  "  golden  age  of  the  freezing  industry."  It 
was  so,  indeed,  to  the  shareholders  of  the  three  companies  pre- 
viously mentioned,  which  still  held  undisputed  possession  in 
1902.  Not  alone  was  the  cessation  of  Argentine  live  stock 
shipments  to  Great  Britain  in  their  favour ;  drought  in  Aus- 
tralia crippled  meat  exporters  there,  the  war  in  South  Africa 
attracted  meat  imports,  and  labour  troubles  in  New  York  and 
Chicago  reduced  North  American  live  and  dead  meat  exports. 
Never  was  so  favourable  a  group  of  factors  present  in  one  year, 
and  it  was  these  circumstances  which  led  to  the  establishment 
of  other  freezing  concerns  in  the  Argentine. 

River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  Ltd. 
To  revert  to  the  earliest  days,  the  commercial  beginning  of 
the  great  Argentine  meat  industry  was  the  shipment  by  the 
s.s.  Meaih  of  7,500  frozen  sheep  from  the  Campana  works  of  the 
River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  in  1883,  an  enterprise 
which  owed  its  inception  to  the  late  Mr.  G.  W.  Drabble.  [The 
date  of  the  earliest  attempt  (experimental)  to  export  Argentine 
frozen  meat  was  about  the  year  1877,  when  the  salting  factory 
"  San  Luis,"  in  San  Nicolas,  shipped  trial  lots  in  the  holds  of 
the  s.s.  Le  Frigoriftque  and  Paraguay,  repeating  the  experiment 
by  the  s.s.  Teviotdale  in  1882.] 


i UK  I..VIK  MI:.  <;KI»KGE  w.  DRAIHH.K. 


THE    LATE  >KN»K    El'l Mil",    i>|.|VERA. 


Kit.    KM  1 1.10   FKER8. 

To  faff  f.  76. 


THE  SOUTH    AMI  HICAN  FRIGORIFICOS          77 

Originally  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  was  promoted  for 
the  freezing,  shipping  to  England,  and  sale  there  of  Argentine 
sheep,  but  gradually,  as  the  business  advanced,  the  freezing  of 
beef  was  i-oinmenreil,  and  from  the  year  IS'.M;  onward.-  tin- 
export  of  both  rapidly  developed.  The  weight  of  the  beef 
shipped  by  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  soon  exceeded  that 
of  mutton.  The  company's  shipments  of  mutton  and  beef 
from  the  commencement  of  the  business  (1883)  to  1910,  twenty- 
eight  years,  totalled  14,141,588  carcasses  of  mutton  and  lamb, 
1,440,595  quarters  of  chilled  and  2,178,987  quarters  of  frozen 
beef.  The  first  shipment  of  mutton  was  despatched  to  London 
on  November  23,  1883,  the  carcasses  averaging  38  Ibs. 

The  Campana  works  are  fitted  with  very  complete  plant  and 
machinery  for  dealing  with  the  various  by-products  arising  out 
of  the  business,  and  improvements  and  additions  are  being 
made  constantly.  The  chilling  and  freezing  plant  is  capable 
of  dealing  with  800  cattle  and  3,000  sheep  per  day.  This  is  a 
great  contrast  to  the  early  equipment  of  the  works,  as  originally 
the  plant  consisted  of  a  small  engine  room,  cold  storage  cham- 
bers, two  digestors,  and  a  slaughter  pen.  All  the  work  was  then 
manual.  The  offal  was  given  away  or  destroyed.  It  was  not 
till  1884  that  beef  freezing  was  started  in  Argentina  :  frozen 
beef  and  pork  were  shipped  that  year,  and  in  1886  the  first 
lambs  were  despatched.  The  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  also 
established  a  plant  at  Column,  Uruguay,  with  the  idea  of  ship- 
ping from  the  two  works,  but  the  enterprise  did  not  pay,  and 
the  machinery  was  removed  in  1888. 

The  company's  first  engineer  and  manager  in  the  Plate  was 
Mr.  John  Angus,  and  a  large  portion  of  the  present  complete 
and  splendid  works  at  Campana  grew  up  under  his  manage- 
ment. In  1893  he  went  to  Buenos  Aires  to  act  as  manager  of 
the  company,  and  held  the  position  till  1905,  when  he  retired. 
In  1899  Mr.  G.  W.  Drabble  died,  and  Mr.  (now  Sir)  Henry 
Bell  became  chairman,  a  position  he  held  for  three  years,  his 
successor  being  Mr.  Charles  Drabble,  who  was  in  turn  followed 
by  Mr.  John  A.  Wood  as  chairman,  Mr.  Drabble  remaining  a 
director.  Mr.  Wood  had  been  manager  and  secretary  in 
London  ever  since  the  company  began  operations,  Mr.  Sidney 


78     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Young,  who  has  been  with  the  company  since  1884,  succeed- 
ing him  in  that  capacity.  The  London  offices  of  the  company 
are  at  Cecil  House,  Holborn  Viaduct,  E.G. 

The  following  notes  concerning  the  establishment  and 
development  of  the  works  at  Campana  of  the  River  Plate 
Fresh  Meat  Co.  are  furnished  by  Mr.  Wood  : — 

"  The  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.'s  freezing  works  in  the 
Argentine  were  at  Campana,  on  the  river  Parana,  about  sixty 
miles  above  Buenos  Aires.  The  initiation  and  development  of 
an  entirely  new  trade  was  naturally  surrounded  with  diffi- 
culties, and  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  ability  and  resource  of  the 
then  chairman  of  the  company,  Mr.  George  W.  Drabble,  who 
initiated  and  brought  out  the  company,  and  also  for  the  support 
he  received  from  the  leading  shareholders,  the  company  would 
undoubtedly  have  succumbed  in  the  early  years  of  its  existence. 
In  spite  of  difficulties,  the  company  gradually  developed,  and 
is  now  one  of  the  largest  exporters  of  meat  and  relative  by- 
products from  the  Argentine.  According  to  the  figures  given 
at  the  annual  general  meeting  in  March,  1910,  the  imports 
over  the  twelve  months  ending  December  31,  1909,  were  just 
50,000  tons,  and  a  further  increase  was  mentioned  as  probable 
for  1910.  The  handling,  shipping,  and  distributing,  either 
retail  or  wholesale,  of  these  quantities  of  meat  and  by-products 
involve  necessarily  a  large  organization,  which  organization  has 
been  specially  built  up  to  meet  the  requirements  of  the 
company's  trade. 

"  Chilled  beef  was,  as  the  result  of  long  experiments  carried 
out  by  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  actually  shipped  by  the 
company  on  a  large  scale  in  the  year  1901.  The  develop- 
ment of  this  chilled  beef  business,  which  was  first  successfully 
carried  out  by  the  company,  has  been  a  great  factor  in  the 
development  of  the  Argentine  trade,  and  was  rendered  possible 
by  the  improvement  in  cattle  stocks  in  the  Argentine,  which 
enterprising  estancieros  had  been  carrying  out  for  some  years. 
This  improvement  in  cattle  and  sheep  stocks  has  been  continued, 
and  the  supplies  of  good -class  cattle  and  sheep  available  for 
export  are  greater  now  than  at  any  time. 

"  The  system  on  which  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  has 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN   FRIGORIFICOS          70 

been  worked  has  been  for  the  company  to  control  and  work 
with  their  own  men  the  whole  business  as  far  as  possible,  from 
the  buying  of  the  live  stock  in  the  Plate,  and  its  shipment, 
to  the  delivery  to  the  retailers  or  consumers,  the  aim  all 
through  having  been  to  meet  as  far  as  was  practicable  the 
consumers'  requirements,  and  the  control  of  the  company 
being  in  the  hands  of  those  who  were  acquainted  with  what 
was  required  on  this  side  enabled  that  object  to  be  fairly  well 
attained. 

"  So  far  as  my  personal  part  is  concerned,  I  have  from  my 
position  had  to  initiate,  supervise,  and  control  the  various 
developments  of  the  company's  business,  and  the  successful 
carrying  out  of  the  work  has  only  been  possible  owing  to  the 
assistance  of  a  most  capable  staff  both  in  the  Plate  and  on  this 
side.  I  have,  of  course,  paid  many  visits  to  the  Argentine  in 
connection  with  the  business  of  the  company. 

"  I  may,  perhaps,  mention  that  in  the  earlier  days  of  the 
River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  the  development  of  the  industry — 
especially  in  the  mutton  trade— was  handicapped  by  the 
quality  in  those  days  of  the  stock  purchased  in  the  Argentine 
being  inferior  to  what  was  obtainable  at  the  same  time  in  New 
Zealand  and  Australia.  In  recent  years,  however,  the  quality 
of  the  Argentine  stock  leaves  little  to  be  desired." 

The   San  Nicolas  Works. 

Contemporaneously  with  the  formation  of  the  English  River 
Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  Mr.  Eugenic  Terrasson  established  meat 
works  at  San  Nicolas  on  the  Parana  river.  His  first  shipment 
was  despatched  in  1883  in  the  Loch  Ard,  and  was  composed  of 
hindquarters  of  mutton,  a  Bell-Coleman  machine  being  installed 
on  t  he  vessel.  In  1884  Mr.  Terrasson  brought  out  the  prospectus 
of  La  Compania  de  Carnes  Congeladas,  capital  $250,000,  gold. 
There  is  no  precise  record  of  the  actual  formation  of  this  com- 
pany. The  San  Nicolas  frigorifico  worked  without  inter- 
ruption till  1898. 

Dr.  Pierre  Berges  recorded  in  a  pamphlet  published  in  1908 
that  the  San  Nicolas  works  had  a  frontage  of  115  metres  and 


80     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

occupied  an  area  of  upwards  of  4  hectares.  The  depth  of  the 
river  was  sufficient  to  allow  of  the  loading  of  the  frozen  meat 
into  a  liner  straight  from  the  refrigerating  chambers.  In  1890, 
he  adds,  "  this  frozen  meat  warehouse  had  three  large  cold 
chambers,  able  to  contain  each  4,000  frozen  sheep.  In  1898 
it  had  preserved  163,103  sheep,  and  to-day  it  is  to  be  sold  for 
£50,000." 

Thus  far  Dr.  Berges ;  but  harking  back  to  1895,  when  the 
works  had  been  shut  up  for  some  time  and  were  under  mortgage, 
three  English  houses  became  interested  in  the  property, 
Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd.,  the  Liverpool  Cold  Storage 
and  Ice  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  Mr.  Hudson,  the  Newcastle  shipowner, 
taking  over  the  works.  About  1898  the  works  were  let  to  the 
three  Argentine  frozen  meat  companies,  the  River  Plate  Co., 
Sansinena's,  and  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  for  a  minimum  period 
of  five  years,  at  a  rental  equivalent  to  15  per  cent,  on  the  paid- 
up  'capital  of  £40,000,  viz.,  £6,000  per  annum.  These  com- 
panies promptly  shut  up  the  frigorifico,  which  was  not  operated 
after  that  date.  Since  1903,  when  the  agreement  expired, 
the  land,  plant,  and  machinery  have  belonged  to  Messrs. 
W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd. 

In  1884  La  Congeladora  Argentina  was  founded  by  the 
Argentine  Rural  Society  to  export  frozen  meat.  The  capital 
was  $1,000,000  paper.  In  1885  the  first  shipment  of  1,000 
cattle  and  10,000  sheep  was  made  from  Zarate.  Dr.  Pierre 
Berges  says  that  the  society  did  not  prosper,  and  it  lost  all  its 
paid-up  capital. 

James  Nelson  and  Sons,  Ltd. 

In  1886  Mr.  Hugh  Nelson,  a  partner  in  James  Nelson  and  Sons 
(a  firm  of  cattle  salesmen  in  Liverpool,  Dublin,  Manchester,  and 
London,  founded  in  the  early  Victorian  era,  the  partners  being 
the  late  Mr.  James  Nelson  and  Messrs.  William  [the  present 
baronet],  Hugh,  and  Edward  Nelson),  went  out  to  Argentina 
and  built  Las  Palmas  freezing  works  at  Zarate.  A  company 
was  formed  called  Nelson's  River  Plate  Meat  Co.,  and  in  1889 
this  as  changed  to  Nelson's  (New)  River  Plate  Meat  Co.,  with  an 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN  FRIGORIFICOS          81 

extension  of  capital.  In  1892  the  company  of  James  Nelson  and 
Sons,  Ltd.,  was  registered  in  England  to  amalgamate  the  busi- 
nesses of  Nelson's  (New)  River  Plate  Meat  Co.  and  James  Nelson 
and  Sons.  In  1803  the  Las  Palmas  Produce  Co.,  Ltd.  was  regis- 
tered in  Argentina.  This  is  the  South  American  section  of 
James  Nelson  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  who  hold  all  the  shares.  These 
various  concerns  were  based  on  the  Zarate  frigorifico  and  the 
business  proceeding  therefrom.  Sir  William  Nelson  in  1904 
retired  from  the  joint  managing  directorship,  held  with 
Mr.  Edward  Nelson,  of  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  this 
position  now  being  held  jointly  by  Messrs.  Edward  Nelson 
and  T.  C.  Nelson.  The  Zarate  works  cover  168  acres,  and  the 
pasturages  and  lairages  nearly  3,000  acres.  The  slaughter 
yards  are  capable  of  dealing  with  1,000  cattle,  5,000  sheep,  and 
250  pigs  a  day,  and  the  refrigerating  chambers,  which  altogether 
number  70,  have  a  total  capacity  equal  to  7,000  cattle,  90,000 
sheep,  and  2,000  pigs.  Principally,  Linde  refrigerating 
machinery  is  installed,  and  the  plant  which  was  provided  in 
1907  to  deal  with  pork  products  alone  cost  £40,000.  Mr.  Philip 
Holmes  has  been  secretary  to  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  Ltd., 
and  the  earlier  company  since  1889.  The  London  office  of  the 
company  is  at  57,  Charterhouse  Street,  E.G. 

Compania  Sansincna  de  Games  Congeladas. 

The  well-known  and  popular  brand  of  frozen  meat  in  English 
markets  marked  S  represents  the  outturn  of  the  Compania 
Sansinena  de  Carnes  Congeladas,  popularly  styled  in  England 
the  Sansinena  Co.  Messrs.  S.  G.  Sansinena  and  Co.  had  a  boiling- 
down  works  at  Barracas  al  Sud  in  the  early  eighties,  and  in 
1885  they  erected  a  freezing  plant  on  the  site  of  the  present 
La  Negra  works,  and  began  to  export  mutton  to  Great  Britain. 
'Hi'-  business  continued,  at  first  on  a  small  scale,  until  1890,  by 
which  time  Messrs.  Sansinena  were  shipping  25,000  sheep  and 
lambs  a  month.  In  1891  the  business  was  turned  into  a  com- 
pany under  Argentine  law,  headquarters  in  Buenos  Aires,  with 
a  capital  of  20,000  shares  of  $100  (gold).  The  original  board 
was :  Ernesto  Tornquist  (president),  Robert  M.  Ramsay, 

r.M.  o 


82     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Samuel  H.  Pearson,  Santiago  Luro,  and  Francisco  Sansinena 
(managing  director).  The  first  shipments  to  England  were 
made  to  Messrs.  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  and  in  January,  1887, 
Messrs.  Sansinena  established  themselves  in  Liverpool,  their 
London  office  being  opened  in  1888.  The  success  of  the  San- 
sinena Co.  is  a  high  tribute  to  the  sagacity  of  the  directors  and 
the  excellent  management  of  the  Buenos  Aires  and  European 
managers.  Mr.  Miles  Pasman,  who  has  lately  retired  from  the 
Board  of  Directors,  contributed  very  largely  to  the  success  of 
the  company  by  his  capable  and  vigorous  administration  in  the 
position  of  managing  director.  The  late  Mr.  William  Cook  held 
the  position  of  general  manager  for  Europe  from  1887  to  1904, 
and  the  late  general  manager  for  Europe,  Mr.  John  J.  Ward — 
who  retired  in  1910 — was  in  the  New  Zealand  frozen  meat 
business  in  1884  and  joined  the  Sansinena  Co.  in  1887.  Mr.  W. 
Dyson  Barnitt  is  now  the  European  general  manager,  and  Mr. 
A.  G.  Rose  is  secretary  of  the  London  office,  Nos.  13-16,  Long 
Lane,  West  Smithfield,  E.G. 

The  Sansinena  Co.  has  always  had  far-reaching  aims  ;  during 
the  period  from  1891  to  1899  it  did  a  considerable  export 
business  in  frozen  meat  with  France,  where  it  had  depots  at 
Havre,  Dunkirk,  and  Paris.  The  prohibitive  duty  and  regula- 
tions imposed  in  1899,  however,  brought  this  to  a  conclusion. 
Brazil  was  also  selected  for  trial,  and  shipments  were  made 
there,  but  without  startling  success.  In  1902,  following  the 
splendid  financial  trading  results,  the  company  built  new  works 
at  Cuatreros  (Bahia  Blanca).  In  1905  Belgium  was  attacked, 
but  the  campaign  was  no  more  successful  than  in  France.  In 
this  connection  the  following  extract  from  the  Review  of  the 
River  Plate  of  January  1,  1909,  is  of  interest : — 

"  In  the  matter  of  destination  of  frozen  meat  exports,  Great 
Britain  continues  to  be  practically  our  only  client.  South 
African  trade  has  dwindled  down  to  35,662  quarters  of  beef  and 
10,804  carcasses  of  mutton  (1908)." 

In  1906  the  "  Sansinena  Distributing  Syndicate,  Ltd.,"  was 
formed  with  a  capital  of  £200,000,  of  which  £125,000  was  paid 
up,  the  Sansinena  Co.  contributing  £50,000.  This  concern  ran 
shops  in  the  chief  centres  of  South  Africa,  but  the  depression 


i  UK.  iv   SKI;I:\   KI:K;UIUKI<  .»  UK    INK  OOMPANU   s  \XSI\K\  *    i-»:  OARNM  •  '-M.KI.  VI>A» 


M    VI  i.lll  I  K-llol  -K.    KI'Mil:     VI     |||K    l\     SKi.KX     H:  tiiiil:  1 H"  ». 


HIE  SOUTH   AMERICAN  FRIGORIFICOS          83 

which  hung  over  those  Colonies  must  have  set  the  distri- 
IH n  ing  company  a  heavy  task.  The  Sansinena  Co.  has  a  very 
extensive  establishment  in  the  United  Kingdom :  it  has 
warehouses,  stores,  or  offices  in  London,  Dublin,  Glasgow, 
Cardiff,  Liverpool,  Birmingham,  Manchester,  Newcastle,  Bristol, 
Leeds,  Hull,  Sheffield,  Leicester,  Burton,  Wolverhampton, 
and  Derby. 

A  recent  enterprise  on  the  part  of  the  Sansinena  Co.  is 
the  outbidding  of  Messrs.  Swift  early  in  1911  for  the  pur- 
chase of  the  Frigorifica  Uruguaya.  The  Sansinena  Co.  paid 
£300,000,  or  £10,000  more  than  the  price  offered  by  Swift's,  for 
this  undertaking,  which  is  described  later  on  in  this  chapter. 
The  capital  of  the  Sansinena  Co.  was  in  1911  increased  from 
$3,000,000  gold  to  $4,500,000  gold,  this  being  for  the  purpose 
of  the  Uruguaya  purchase. 

Twentieth  Century  Companies. 

Reference  has  been  made  to  Argentina's  "  golden  year," 

1902.  It  was  then  that  the  estancieros,  aghast  at  the  spectacle 
of  the  frigorificos  making  their  50  to  100  per  cent,  profit,  natu- 
rally came  to  the  conclusion  that  they  would  take  a  hand  at  the 
game  themselves.    La  Socie^  Anonyme  de  Viandes  Congelees 
La  Blanca  was  founded  by  Argentine  capitalists  in  1902  at 
Buenos  Aires,  almost  all  the  proprietors  being  leading  estan- 
cieros.    The   capital   was  fixed  at  £300,000  ;    the  works  are 
situated  on  the  river  Riachuelo,  and  operations  were  begun  in 

1903.  In  1908  the  works  were  taken  over  by  the  American 
Trust  companies  for  £340,000.    In  the  same  year  the  Cuatreros 
factory,  erected  by  the  Sansinena  Co.  as  a  second  string  at 
Bahia  Blanca,  was  set  going.     The  next  freezing  works  to  be 
started  was  that  constructed  at  the  port  of  La  Plata  by  the  La 
Plata  Cold  Storage  Co.  The  establishment  of  the  La  Plata  works 
at    Puerto  La  Plata,  excellently  situated  on  deep  water,  was 
brought  about  in  this  way.   There  was  some  difficulty  in  getting 
full  supplies  of  frozen  meat  about  1902 — 1903  for  South  African 
requirements.     Australia  was  out  of  the  trade  at  that  time 
owing  to  the  drought,  and  the  Sansinena  and  other  Argentine 

o  2 


84     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

companies  would  not  undertake  to  sell  at  all  freely,  fearing 
to  interfere  with  their  connection  in  England.  The  Imperial 
Cold  Storage  Co.  had  a  concession  placed  before  it  of  the  site  at 
La  Plata  by  Messrs.  Zavala  and  Co.,  of  Buenos  Aires,  Mr.  Daniel 
Kingsland,  Mr.  Joseph  Moore,  etc.,  just  at  this  time,  and  the 
company  closed  with  the  offer.  Works  and  plant  were  erected, 
and  the  system  of  business  established  largely  on  lines  suggested 
by  Mr.  John  Cooke,  of  Melbourne,  and  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and 
Co.,  of  London.  But  when  the  La  Plata  works  got  into  working 
order  the  imported  meat  trade  in  South  Africa  was  dying,  and 
so  the  exports  were  directed  to  England.  The  system  of 
selling  c.i.f.  to  London  was  practised  and  developed,  but  the 
Imperial  Cold  Storage  Co.,  having  no  longer  any  interest  in  this 
trade,  wished  to  sell,  and  so  it  came  about  that  these  works 
passed  in  1907  into  the  hands  of  Swift's,  of  Chicago,  for 
£350,000,  thus  marking  the  beginning  of  a  great  revolution 
in  the  frozen  meat  trade.  As  the  head  office  of  the  company 
was  always  at  Cape  Town,  it  is  permissible  to  call  La  Plata 
a  British  company. 

The  Smithfield  and  Argentine  Meat  Co.  was  formed  in  1903 
with  a  capital  of  £200,000,  the  shares  being  distributed  amongst 
English  and  Argentine  capitalists,  some  leading  Smithfield 
Market  men  subscribing  to  the  enterprise.  The  freezing 
establishment  is  near  Zarate,  and  work  was  started  on 
February  24,  1905.  This  company,  which  mainly  exports 
chilled  beef,  includes  amongst  its  directors,  Messrs.  Assheton 
Leaver  (W.  and  J.  Biggerstaff),  chairman,  and  P.  J.  Poels. 
The  London  office  is  at  58,  West  Smithfield,  E.G. 

Next  we  come  to  a  purely  Argentine  company,  the  Frigorifico 
Argentine,  the  capital  of  which,  £250,000,  was  put  up  entirely 
by  local  people.  Operations  were  begun  in  June,  1905,  the 
works  being  on  the  river  Riachuelo.  The  success  of  this 
company  in  the  chilled  beef  trade  has  been  most  marked, 
the  uniformly  good  condition  in  which  its  consignments  are 
landed  giving  it  a  strong  hold  on  the  retail  trade.  Mr.  S. 
McC.  Rough  is  manager  for  the  United  Kingdom  of  this 
company,  which  has  its  London  offices  at  40 — 44,  Holborn 
Viaduct,  E.G. 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN  FRIGORIFICOS          sr, 

Evolution   of   Argentine   Mutton. 

A  word  is  not  out  of  place  here  as  to  the  evolution  of  the 
class  of  mutton  exported  from  Argentina's  frigorificos. 

At  the  time  when  meat  freezing  in  Argentina  was  started, 
the  sheep  offering  were  very  unpromising  for  the  industry.  The 
merino  was  the  national  sheep,  though  a  few  South  Down 
animals  had  been  introduced  in  1825,  and  the  Lincoln  Long- 
wool  was  imported  with  great  success  several  decades  later. 
But  merino  mutton  was  shipped  by  the  freezing  companies  for 
years  after  the  beginning  of  the  exporting  business,  and  the 
pioneers  were  much  handicapped  in  selling  such  an  inferior 
article  against  the  well-grown,  meaty,  New  Zealand  carcass. 
On  referring  to  some  of  the  old  London  price  lists,  one 
notes  that  in  1884  New  Zealand  mutton  was  quoted  at  3s.  to 
3s.  4d.  per  stone,  whilst  River  Plate  was  priced  at  2s.  to  2s.  8d. 
From  the  same  source  of  information  it  appears  that  in  1886 
(June)  a  considerable  improvement  both  in  breed  and  condition 
was  observed  by  London  salesmen  in  the  latter  class  of  mutton. 
The  necessity  to  improve  upon  the  lean,  light-carcassed, 
merino  sheep  in  order  to  put  up  a  serious  competition  with 
New  Zealand  cross-bred  mutton  in  Smithfield  was  no  doubt 
a  considerable  factor  in  the  bettering  of  the  estancieros'  flocks 
in  Argentina  by  a  beginning  being  made  in  the  great  import 
trade  in  high-class  rams  from  British  pedigree  flocks. 

Other  South  American  Contributors. 

Argentina,  though  the  principal,  is  by  no  means  the  only 
frozen  meat  exporting  State  of  South  America.  British 
territory  in  the  South  Atlantic — the  Falkland  Islands — did 
a  considerable  business  for  some  years  ;  Uruguay  contributes 
frozen  mutton,  lamb,  and  beef,  to  the  needs  of  Great  Britain ; 
and  down  at  the  southern  tip  of  South  America  there  are  a 
couple  of  freezing  works  on  the  Straits  of  Magellan,  both  in 
Chilian  territory.  Venezuela  is  the  latest  South  American 
principality  to  enter  the  trade. 

To  detail  first  the  connection  of  the  Falkland  Islands  with 
the  industry,  it  may  be  said  that  the  Falkland  Islands  Co. 


86     A   HISTORY    OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

entered  the  field  in  1886  with  a  shipment  of  30,000  sheep  in  the 
steamer  Selembria.  The  vessel  arrived  at  London  on  July  15, 
1886,  and  she  delivered  two  other  lots,  45,000  carcasses,  in  1887. 
The  sheep  were  about  64  Ibs.,  "  rather  lean."  When  first 
offered,  the  mutton  made  4|c£.  to  5\d.  per  lb.,  or  about  }d. 
under  the  price  of  New  Zealand  mutton.  Later,  the  Falkland 
Islands  mutton  made  a  lower  average  market  price,  3\d.  to 
5%d.  per  lb.  It  was  understood  that  these  shipments  were 
disastrous  in  every  way.  It  is  said  that  7s.  6d.  in  the  £ 
of  the  capital  embarked  was  lost. 

After  these  three  shipments  the  Falkland  Islands  Co.  dropped 
out,  and  Messrs.  Spearing  and  Waldron  took  up  the  running. 
The  Waldrons  had  been  connected  with  sheep  breeding  in 
the  Falklands  from  the  earliest  times.  The  firm  chartered  the 
Hengist,  a  sailing  ship  of  about  1,500  tons,  which  had  been 
engaged  in  the  New  Zealand  frozen  meat  trade.  This  vessel 
made  her  first  trip  in  1890,  and  continued  to  bring  a  shipment 
yearly  till  1895  ;  in  her  six  voyages  the  vessel  conveyed  about 
100,000  carcasses.  The  Hengist  loaded  and  froze  sheep  at  two 
ports,  San  Carlos  on  the  east  and  Port  Howard  on  the  west. 
Two  lifeboats  were  lashed  together  and  a  platform  was  put  on 
them  both.  The  mutton  was  placed  on  this  and  transferred 
thence  to  the  'tween  decks  of  the  ship  and  frozen  on  board ; 
then  it  was  stowed  below  and  shipped  at  intervals.  Some 
of  the  shipments  sold  fairly  well,  but  the  sheep  were  too 
big  and  coarse  for  Smithfield  buyers,  and  the  lack  of  grading 
told  against  them — the  mutton  could  not  compete  with  that 
from  New  Zealand.  The  net  return  to  the  farmers  was  about 
Id.  to  l|d.  per  lb.,  5s.  to  7s.  per  head.  If  20,000  sheep  could 
have  been  got  at  one  port,  the  enterprise,  it  is  said,  would  have 
paid.  Messrs.  Spearing  and  Waldron  shipped  on  their  own 
account,  and  also  as  agents  for  some  of  the  farmers  who  preferred 
to  consign  and  take  their  own  risk.  On  the  last  two  trips  of  the 
Hengist  some  of  the  meat  was  transhipped  to  the  s.s.  Hornby 
Grange.  The  end  of  the  Falkland  Islands  frozen  meat  trade 
was  the  wreck  of  the  Hengist  in  the  Straits  of  Magellan.  The 
trade,  as  above  described,  lasted  from  1886  to  1895,  and  in  all 
169,973  sheep  were  frozen  and  shipped  to  London.  The 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN   FRIGORIFICOS          87 

Falkland  Islands  frozen  sheep  first  shipped  were  too  old.  Two 
gentlemen,  Messrs.  Windsor  and  Wolff,  were  mainly  responsible 
for  the  Falkland  Islands  mutton  export  business  in  the  early 
days. 

Another  start  was  made  by  the  Straits  of  Magellan  Frozen 
Meat  Co.  in  1896,  Messrs.  Spearing  and  Waldron  being  largely 
interested  in  that  company.  The  sailing  ship  Oneida  was 
dismantled  and  turned  into  a  freezing  hulk  in  the  Straits  of 
Magellan,  and  is  still  there.  Shipments  of  mutton  from 
Patagonia,  frozen  on  this  hulk  at  Punta  Delgada,  were  made  to 
London  in  the  Grange  Line  boats  in  1896,  1897,  and  1899 — 
70,000  carcasses  in  all.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Falkland 
Islands  and  Patagonian  mutton  was  never  much  fancied 
at  Smithfield.  One  shipment  in  1895,  according  to  the  market 
circulars  of  that  year,  went  as  low  as  2fd.  to  3d.  per  Ib. 

The  third  stage  of  meat  freezing  for  export  in  this  part  of 
the  world  was  reached  with  the  establishment  of  freezing  works 
at  Rio  Seco  in  1905.  The  works  are  situated  on  the  northern 
shore  of  the  Straits  of  Magellan,  ten  miles  east  of  Punta  Arenas, 
which  is  80  miles  from  the  mouth  of  the  Straits.  The  pro- 
prietors are  the  South  American  Export  Syndicate,  in  which 
Messrs.  Houlder  Brothers  and  Birt  and  Co.  are  largely  interested. 
The  first  shipment  of  frozen  meat  was  made  in  April,  1905. 
The  mutton  and  lamb  come  under  the  "  Shell "  brand. 
The  London  office  is  at  102,  Fenchurch  Street,  E.G. 

On  December  27,  1906,  a  number  of  ranch  owners  and  mer- 
chants met  and  resolved  to  erect  a  freezing  works  at  Puerto 
Sara,  San  Gregorio,  on  the  Chilian  side  of  the  Straits  of 
Magellan,  60  miles  east  of  the  Rio  Seco  works.  They  put  up 
£39,000,  and  a  month  later  the  Compania  Frigorifica  de  Pata- 
gonia was  formed,  the  head  office  being  in  Punta  Arenas. 
The  ranchers  of  Gallegos  were  asked  to  join,  but  they 
declined.  Haslam's  refrigerating  machinery  was  installed 
in  the  building,  the  foundation  stone  of  which  was  laid 
at  San  Gregorio  by  Don  Pedro  Montt,  President  of  Chili,  on 
February  25,  1907,  and  the  works  were  completed  on  Feb- 
ruary 20, 1908.  The  president  of  the  company  was  Mr.  Rodolfo 
Stubcnrauch,  and  the  other  directors  were  Messrs.  Alejandro 


88     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Menendez,  Pablo  Van  Peborgh,  Luis  Bonvalot,  and  Mr.  Frank 
H.  Townsend,  the  works  manager  being  Mr.  David  Anderson. 
The  paid-up  capital  of  the  company  is  £65,000.  The 
average  output  for  the  season  is  about  150,000  carcasses.  The 
shipping  season  of  these  Straits  of  Magellan  works  is  extremely 
short,  February  to  May,  as  stock  cannot  be  moved  in  winter. 

It  does  not  require  much  imagination  to  picture  the  whole 
of  the  Atlantic  seaboard  from  Monte  Video — possibly  from  the 
Venezuelan  coast — to  Magellan  Straits  dotted  with  freezing 
works  for  the  provision  of  meat  for  the  Old  World.  At 
present  there  is  a  wide  gap  between  Bahia  Blanca,  where 
the  southernmost  freezing  works  (Sansinena's)  in  Argentina 
is  placed,  and  the  two  works  on  the  northern  shore 
of  Magellan  Straits  (Chili).  But  this  gap  of  a  thousand 
miles  will  doubtless  be  bridged  by-and-by.  Port  Madryn  is 
a  rising  settlement  on  the  Patagonian  coast,  and  at  Puerto 
Gallegos  (lat.  51°  S.),  just  opposite  the  Falkland  Islands,  there 
are  canning  works,  founded  in  1898,  owned  by  the  Patagonian 
Meat  Preserving  Co.,  of  London.  A  freezing  plant  was  added, 
and  the  Puerto  Gallegos  frigorifico,  under  the  name  of  the  New 
Patagonia  Meat  and  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  is  expected  to 
begin  operations  shortly.  A  fair  number  of  sheep  are  avail- 
able between  this  point  and  the  mouth  of  the  Santa  Cruz 
river,  about  100  miles  farther  north.  With  the  development 
of  the  railway  system  over  the  Patagonian  portion  of 
the  Argentine  Republic,  and  the  movement  of  the  sheep 
farmers  north  from  the  districts  of  Punta  Arenas  (the 
region  talked  of  as  being  full  of  millionaires),  and  south  from 
Argentina  proper  over  the  river  Negro,  conversation  with  men 
who  know  the  country  leads  one  to  believe  that  sooner  or  later 
there  will  be  works  right  up  the  coast.  The  difficulty  lies  in 
the  dryness  of  the  climate  of  Patagonia — the  rainfall  is  small. 
Including  three  canning  works — one  in  Tierra  del  Fuego — 
there  are  in  all  five  companies  in  Patagonia  preparing  mutton 
for  export. 

La  Frigorifica  Uruguaya,  which  was  formed  in  1902,  had 
an  original  capital  of  $500,000  gold,  later  increased  to 
$700,000  (£140,000).  The  promoter  and  first  chairman  was 


tl 


THE  SOUTH   AMERICAN  FRIGORIFICOS          H«I 

Seflor  Manuel  Lessa,  a  prominent  financier.  Slaughtering 
was  started  in  December,  1904,  and  the  first  shipment  of 
frozen  meat  was  despatched  to  London  in  the  s.s.  Sussex  in 
March,  1005.  The  works  are  fitted  throughout  with  modern 
appliances,  and  Lande  ammonia  compression  refrigerating 
machinery  is  driven  by  triple  expansion  Sulzer  steam  engines. 
The  original  capacity  of  the  works  was  for  the  production  of 
50  tons  per  day,  and  storage  of  1,000  tons,  but  during  the 
1909  season  the  works  were  extended,  and  can  now  produce 
120  tons  daily,  with  a  storage  capacity  of  over  2,000  tons. 
In  1910  the  company  paid  12  per  cent,  dividend.  As  mentioned 
above,  this  frigorifico  was  purchased  in  1911  for  £300,000  by 
the  Compania  Sansinena,  and  is  now  being  doubled  in  capacity. 
Uruguay  may  foe  expected  to  be  exploited  vigorously  in  the 
interests  of  cattle  freezing.  The  Review  of  the  River  Plate 
states  that  "  The  statutes  of  the  new  frigorifico  '  Frigorifico 
Montevideo,'  have  been  approved,  the  capital  being  two 
million  pesos,  but  the  company  may  commence  operations 
when  400,000  pesos  have  been  subscribed." 

Beef  from  Venezuela. 

The  Venezuelan  frozen  meat  venture,  begun  in  1910, 
geographically  belongs  to  this  South  American  chapter.  The 
works  at  Puerto  Cabcllo,  from  which  ^the  s.s.  Star  of  Victoria 
took  the  first  shipment  of  frozen  beef  on  August  7,  1910, 
7,121  quarters  (400  tons),  are  in  the  latitude  10°  N.  One 
would  think  that  peculiar  difficulties  surrounded  the  prepara- 
tion of  frozen  meat  in  such  a  torrid  clime  ;  probably  the  only 
other  freezing  works  in  the  world  matching  the  Venezuelan 
one  for  tropical  situation  is  the  establishment  of  the  Queens- 
land Meat  Export  Company  at  Townsville,  19°  S.  The 
proprietors  of  the  Venezuelan  plant  are  the  Venezuelan  Meat 
and  Products  Syndicate,  Ltd.,  domiciled  at  16,  Finsbury  Circus, 
London,  E.C.  It  appears  that  the  cattle  available  for 
slaughter  at  Puerto  Cabello  can  be  frozen  with  profit  to  meet 
the  special  demands  for  beef  from  small-boned,  light-weight 
beasts  for  the  northern  markets  of  England.  The  beef  will 


90     A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

be  shipped  mainly  to  Liverpool,  for  distribution  in  the 
Manchester,  Liverpool,  and  Glasgow  districts.  Probably  these 
cattle — which  have  so  far  been  killed  for  hides  and  fat,  in  the 
absence  of  demand — are  bought  cheaply,  and  the  beef  will,  no 
doubt,  prove  useful  as  a  secondary  quality  article.  It  is 
expected  that  a  great  improvement  in  the  available  fat  stock 
will  result  from  using  for  grazing  purposes  the  vast  cattle 
plains  of  the  Orinoco.  The  hides  and  offal  will  be  brought 
over  to  Liverpool  to  be  worked  up  ;  1,000  tons  of  beef  can 
be  shipped  about  every  ten  weeks.  The  works  are  now  in 
full  working  order,  and  chilled  beef  from  them  occasionally 
comes  to  Smithfield  market  vid  Southampton. 

Three  Distinguished  Argentine  Statesmen. 

In  the  development  of  Argentina's  rural  economy,  agricul- 
ture, and  pastoral  progress,  there  are  three  names  that  stand 
out  pre-eminently,  and  seeing  that  without  the  great  pastoral 
resources  of  Argentina  the  meat  freezing  industry  of  the 
country  could  never  have  reached  its  present  stage,  some 
account  of  the  efforts  of  these  three  men  is  not  out  of  place 
here.  These  are  the  late  Don  Eduardo  Olivera,  and — still 
happily  with  us — Don  Exequiel  Hamos  Mexia,  and  Dr.  Emilio 
Frers. 

Don  Eduardo  Olivera,  who  passed  away  in  September,  1910, 
was  born  of  a  family  of  estancieros  eighty-four  years  ago. 
Having  completed  his  university  career,  he  travelled,  as  a 
young  man,  through  Europe,  studying  in  various  countries  the 
science  and  practice  of  rural  economy.  Returning  to  his 
country  more  than  half  a  century  ago,  he  speedily  made  his 
mark  both  in  the  Press  and  in  political  circles  by  his  intelli- 
gent and  stimulating  campaign  for  the  improvement  of  agricul- 
tural and  pastoral  methods.  This  was  at  a  time  when  the 
majority  of  landowners  heard  with  indifference  any  proposi- 
tions for  the  improvement  of  their  live  stock  and  better  cultiva- 
tion of  their  land.  Production  was  limited  to  wool,  jerked 
beef,  hides,  and  tallow.  Wheat  was  then,  and  for  many  years 
subsequently,  imported  into  the  country. 

In  1866  Olivera  achieved  the  work  with  which  for  all  time 


THE   SOI  Til    AMKIUCAN    I  KKiORIFICOS          91 

his  name  will  be  moat  associated,  by  founding  the  Argentine 
Rural  Society,  which  may  now  claim  to  be  the  most  important 
institution  of  its  class  in  the  world.  At  first  secretary,  and 
wards  president,  of  this  society,  Olivera  was  for  many 
years  its  most  active  member,  and  had  the  honour  of  being 
elected  its  honorary  president  for  life.  Amongst  many  other 
public  offices  held  by  him,  he  was  Postmaster-General,  Deputy, 
Senator,  and  interim  Governor  of  the  State  of  Buenos  Aires, 
and  during  all  his  life  held  a  prominent  position  in  the  affairs 
of  his  country.  As  a  pastoralist,  Olivera  was  a  well-known 
breeder  of  merino  sheep,  and  formed  by  selection  a  type  called 
the  "  Argentine  merino."  Outstanding  from  all  his  work  for 
the  nation's  welfare,  the  offices  he  so  honourably  filled,  and  his 
contributions  to  rural  legislation  and  progress,  there  rises  the 
man  himself ,  whose  virtuous  life  and  sixty  years  of  disinterested 
service  to  his  country  will  remain  a  tradition  and  an  example 
for  future  generations.  Genial  in  manner  and  simple  in  his  life, 
he  was  beloved  of  all,  and  no  surname  was  necessary  to 
individualize  the  man  who  was  known  throughout  his  country 
as  "  Don  Eduardo." 

Senor  Exequiel  Ramos  Mexia,  the  member  of  a  patrician 
Buenos  Aires  family,  is  at  the  present  time  the  national  Minister 
of  Public  Works,  and  in  that  office,  which  he  has  held  through 
two  Presidencies,  he  is  displaying  the  same  intelligence  and 
statecraft  that  have  marked  him  in  the  various  offices  he  has 
held  related  to  the  country's  rural  economy.  For  many  years 
president  of  the  Argentine  Rural  Society,  twice  Minister  of 
Agriculture,  president  and  presiding  genius  of  the  drainage 
works  of  the  Province  of  Buenos  Aires  (the  drainage,  at  a  cost 
of  three-and-a-half  millions  sterling,  of  sixteen  million  acres 
of  rich  land  subject  more  or  less  to  inundation,  and  probably 
the  greatest  undertaking  of  its  nature  in  the  world) :  it  is  not 
possible  in  a  brief  space  to  enumerate  the  many  services  to 
Argentina's  rural  industry  for  which  the  country  is  indebted 
to  Senor  Ramos  Mexia. 

The  Sanitary  Law  regarding  contagious  diseases  in  animals 
was  initiated  and  carried  through  by  him,  and  many  improve- 
ments in  the  handling  of  live  stock  in  transit  and  inspection  of 


92     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

meat  for  export  are  associated  with  his  name.  On  his  own  fine 
estate  of  Miraflores  he  is  a  breeder  of  Shire  horses,  pedigree 
Shorthorn  cattle,  and  Lincoln  sheep  ;  the  organization  there 
and  intelligent  cultivation  of  the  land  are  a  reflection  of  the 
ability  and  thoroughness  he  displays  in  public  affairs.  Sefior 
Ramos  Mexia  is  an  admirer  of  the  British  and  their  commercial 
methods,  and  includes  among  his  personal  friends  more  than 
one  distinguished  statesman  of  that  nationality.  Like  many 
of  his  countrymen,  he  has  put  aside  the  personal  convenience 
afforded  by  his  private  fortune  and  condition,  to  give  his 
services  to  his  country. 

Dr.  Emilio  Frers  is  the  son  of  one  of  the  first  presidents  of 
the  Argentine  Rural  Society,  and  has  himself  held  that  office 
twice.  Perhaps  the  best  illustration  of  the  esteem  in  which  he 
is  held  is  the  incident  that  occurred  when  the  portfolio  of 
Agriculture  was  first  added  to  the  Cabinet.  General  Roca  was 
at  that  time  President  of  the  Republic,  and  Dr.  Frers  belonged 
to  the  opposite  political  party.  General  Roca  drove  to  his 
house  to  tell  him  that  the  country's  interests  were  above  party 
politics,  and  that  he  had  come  to  the  man  recognized  by  all  as 
the  right  citizen  to  organize  the  new  Ministry  and  be  the  first 
Secretary  of  State  for  Agriculture.  Dr.  Frers  accepted,  and 
fully  justified  the  choice  that  had  been  made. 

Dr.  Frers  is  an  able  economist,  a  gifted  writer,  and  a  citizen 
whose  integrity  has  won  for  him  universal  esteem.  His  last 
office  was  that  of  president  of  the  Centennial  International 
Exhibition  of  Agriculture  held  in  Buenos  Aires.  He  has 
given  much  of  his  time  to  the  welfare  of  the  small  agricul- 
turist, the  labourer,  and  the  immigrant.  He  would  not  inaptly 
be  described  as  the  Cobden  of  Argentina.  Essentially  a  citizen 
with  an  austere  though  kindly  view  of  the  duties  of  life,  he 
does  not  court  publicity,  and,  as  he  once  remarked,  his  con- 
nection with  each  office  he  held  began  by  his  first  refusing  it. 
On  his  estancia  "  La  Estrella,"  where  he  breeds  Hereford  cattle 
and  merino  sheep,  he  is  beloved  by  his  men ;  and  it  is  there, 
surrounded  by  his  family  and  his  books,  taking  his  share  in  the 
modest  county  council  of  the  district,  that  he  is  happiest. 


CHAPTER  VI 

IMPROVING   FLOCKS  AND   HERDS    IN   THE    SOUTHERN 
HEMISPHERE 

Evolution  of  Mutton  Sheep  in  Australasia.— Pedigree  sheep 
were  imported  into  New  Zealand  quite  early  to  improve  the 
wool.  The  Border  Leicester,  English  Leicester,  Cheviot, 
and  various  types  of  Down  rams  imported,  crossed  with 
the  merinos  from  the  stations,  established  the  type  from 
which  "  prime  Canterbury  "  meat  was  obtained.  In  1892,  ten 
years  after  the  meat  export  trade  was  started,  the  sheep  men 
in  the  Colony  were  working  on  well-defined  lines  as  regards 
crossbreeding.  The  sheep  in  the  Colony  numbered  18,000,000, 
8,000,000  in  the  North  Island,  and  10,000,000  in  the  South. 
Of  this  number  there  were  6,000,000  merinos,  and  the  crossbred 
sheep  were  estimated  as  follow  :  Lincoln  and  crosses,  5,750,000, 
Border  Leicester,  and  English  Leicester  and  crosses,  3,000,000, 
Romney  Marsh  and  crosses,  1,150,000,  and  Shropshire,  South- 
down and  crosses,  1,500,000.  The  various  English  breeds  were 
used  in  New  Zealand  according  to  the  nature  of  the  country, 
class  of  wool,  fat  lamb  export,  and  the  ideas  of  the  breeders 
themselves.  The  question  of  the  most  saleable  weight  of  the 
mutton  carcass  had  to  be  considered.  When  the  trade  began 
in  1882,  carcasses  averaging  80  Ibs.  were  worth  over  6d.  per  lb., 
but  by  1892  the  most  acceptable  weight  at  Smithfield  was  55  Ibs. 
to  60  Ibs. ;  it  is  now  48  to  56  Ibs.  The  first  cross  out  of  a 
merino  ewe  by  an  English  ram  was  the  most  suitable  meat  in 
London.  As  a  general  rule,  the  New  Zealand  sheep  breeders 
inclined  to  the  use  of  the  Lincoln  ram  when  they  desired  to 
raise  the  standard  of  their  flocks  as  regards  weight  of  fleece, 
and  to  the  English  Leicester  and  Shropshire  if  the  carcass 
wanted  improving. 

In  Otago,  it  may  be  said,  there  has  been  less  change  in 
sheep  breeding  of  late  years  than  in  any  other  part  of  the 
Dominion.  The  Border  Leicester,  Romney,  and  Lincoln,  and 


94     A   HISTORY    OF    THE    FROZEN    MEAT  TRADE 

their  crosses,  are  still  to  be  found  in  all  parts.  On  back- 
country  stations  there  is  a  more  extended  use  of  the  Corriedale. 
The  Corriedale  was  established  in  the  first  instance  by  crossing 
the  merino  with  the  Lincoln  or  Leicester  ram.  The  produce 
were  carefully  culled,  and  these  "  in-bred  half-bred  "  sheep 
were  bred  from  until  the  breed  became  well  fixed.  The 
Corriedale  is  now  a  well  established  breed  in  New  Zealand. 
The  merino  was  only  suitable  for  hilly  or  very  dry  country, 
and  the  wool  from  the  English  breed  was  found  coarse. 

The  Downs  have  not  made  much  headway,  though  the 
Shropshire  maintains  its  position  in  front  of  the  Southdown.  In 
Canterbury  the  popular  breed  of  sheep  is  the  English  Leicester. 
The  Lincoln  has  almost  disappeared,  and  the  Romney  has  still 
only  a  few  supporters.  The  Corriedale  has  considerably 
increased  in  numbers  on  the  front  hills  in  the  northern  district. 
Persons  interested  in  this  subject  are  referred  to  a  pamphlet 
issued  in  1899  by  the  Christchurch  Press  on  "  Sheep  Breeding  in 
New  Zealand." 

In  New  Zealand  crossbreeding  is  largely  a  question  of  lamb 
production.  In  Australia  no  great  revolution  from  the 
original  merino  type  of  sheep  has  taken  place,  such  as  has 
occurred  in  New  Zealand  and  Argentina.  The  frozen  mutton 
from  Australia  is  still  largely  from  merino  stock  ;  Australian 
mutton  is  sold  as  "  merino  and/or  crossbred,"  to  quote  from 
a  form  of  contract.  All  New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb 
shipped  to  Great  Britain  are  from  crossbred  sheep,  and  so  are 
practically  all  Argentine. 

Systematic  tests  have  been  conducted  in  Australia  to  dis- 
cover the  best  cross  for  fat  lamb  raising.  The  general  results 
of  these  experiments  seem  to  point  to  the  Shropshire-Leicester 
merino  cross  as  producing  the  best  results,  though  crosses  with 
the  Dorset-Leicester  merino  worked  out  almost  as  well.  At 
twelve  weeks  old  lambs  from  the  first-named  cross  weighed 
62  Ibs.,  and  from  the  other  cross  GO  Ibs. 

Mr.  Grigg's  Communication. — To  elucidate  this  subject  the 
authors  asked  Mr.  J.  C.  N.  Grigg,  of  Longbeach,  New  Zealand, 
to  place  on  record  his  views  concerning  the  evolution  of  the 
mutton  sheep  in  New  Zealand. 


JOHN    ..M.....    Of    LOMOBXACfl,     vsi-    n\*.  M  V  ll  K   F.BECTED  TO   HIS   MEMmiV   Al    AMIHfKl»N. 

TV  face  it.     '.'4. 


IMPROVING    FLOCKS    AND    HERDS  95 

"  At  the  beginning  of  the  freezing  industry  in  New  Zealand," 
writes  Mr.  (iriirir,  "  the  country  had  largf  numbers  of  four,  six, 
and  eight  tooth  wethers,  kept  simply  for  their  wool ;  the  bulk 
of  them  were  merino  and  first  cross  in  the  South  Island  and 
Lincoln  and  Romney  Marsh  in  the  North  Island.  The  '  first 
cross '  was  really  a  cross  between  the  English  Leicester  ram 
and  merino  ewe,  or  the  Lincoln  ram  and  the  merino  ewe. 
Before  freezing  started  wool  was  the  main  profit,  as  the 
profit  from  boiling  down  the  surplus  sheep  was  small  and 
prices  for  store  sheep  and  fats  ruled  very  low  ;  therefore 
the  whole  returns  of  a  man's  property  depended  on  the  wool 
and  the  increase  in  his  stock,  and  even  wool  on  the  average  was 
lower  about  1875  to  1881  than  of  late  years. 

"  When  freezing  started,  the  English  Leicester  increased  as 
a  stud  sheep  more  than  any  other  breed,  because  it  was  found 
that  the  English  Leicester-merino  cross  was  the  neatest  and 
best  sheep  for  freezing.  (The  English  Leicester  is  the  same  in 
New  Zealand  to-day  as  it  was  when  freezing  started,  though 
the  old  type  of  English  Leicester  [a  low-set,  medium-sized  sheep 
of  good  quality]  of  forty  or  fifty  years  ago  has  disappeared  in 
England).  A  fairly  large  number  of  merino  wethers  were  frozen 
and  shipped  in  the  early  days  of  freezing,  but  did  not  as  a  rule 
leave  much  margin  of  profit,  as  merinos  looked  very  dark  in 
colour,  and  sold  at  low  prices  compared  with  first  and  second 
cross  mutton  ;  the  meat  of  the  latter  looking  bright  red  and  the 
fat  whiter  than  merino. 

"  The  Border  Leicester  is  a  very  fine  sheep,  but  it  is  not  a 
breed  that  corrects  want  of  shape  and  quality  when  crossed 
with  coarse  breeds.  It  is  rather  liable  to  run  away  on  the  leggy 
side.  But  the  breed  is  a  very  useful  one,  and  is  used  very 
extensively  in  Southland  and  Otago,  where  a  hardy  and  easily 
fattened  sheep  is  the  first  essential.  A  few  South  and  Shrop- 
shire Down  flocks  were  in  existence  in  Canterbury  when  freezing 
started ;  notably  John  Deans  of  Riccarton  and  Samuel  Garforth 
had  South  Down  flocks,  and  my  father  had  a  flock  of  Shrop- 
.^  hi  res.  The  first  cargo  of  frozen  sheep  and  lambs  which  left 
New  Zealand  in  the  sailing  ship  Dunedin  in  1881  contained 
some  Down  cross  sheep  and  lambs. 


96    A   HISTORY    OF    THE    FROZEN    MEAT    TRADE 

"  From  1890  the  Shropshire  was  used  very  extensively,  not  so 
much  in  the  North  Island  as  in  Canterbury.  My  father  was 
one  of  the  first  Shropshire  breeders  in  Canterbury,  and  I  use  the 
breed  now  as  well  as  Southdown  on  three-quarter-bred 
Leicester  and  Romney  ewes. 

"  The  English  Leicester  ram  on  Romney  Marsh  ewes  produces 
a  very  useful  sheep.  If  any  lambs  from  this  cross  are  not  frozen 
and  are  carried  over  for  a  year,  the  females  make  good  mothers, 
and  the  wethers  are  shapely  and  fatten  readily  as  '  two-tooths  ' 
after  having  cut  a  useful  fleece  ;  the  meat  from  the  carcasses  is 
fairly  bright.  Where  wool  is  thought  more  of  than  quality  of 
meat,  the  Lincoln  ram  is  used  on  Romney  ewes.  The  Romney 
Marsh  breed  is  the  foundation  stone  of  successful  sheep  farming 
in  most  parts  of  the  North  Island  of  New  Zealand. 

"  The  Southdown  is  the  most  symmetrical  sheep  in  the 
world,  and  full  of  short,  good  quality  meat.  Now  that  the  South 
Island  draws  on  the  North  Island  for  a  large  number  of  its 
breeding  ewes,  mostly  Romney  Marsh  cross,  the  Southdown  is 
rightly  becoming  more  popular  in  Canterbury.  The  two 
earliest  breeders  of  Southdowns  were  Mr.  John  Deans,  of 
Riccarton,  and  Mr.  Samuel  Garforth,  of  Speydon.  The  breed- 
ing ewes  of  Canterbury  are  neater  and  smaller-boned  sheep,  as 
a  rule,  and  carry  finer  fleeces,  than  North  Island  ewes.  The 
merino  foundation  is  still  in  evidence  in  a  large  proportion  of 
the  Canterbury  flocks ;  lambs  from  these  ewes,  fattened 
on  the  short  sweet  pastures  in  a  clear  and  rather  dry 
climate,  make  a  model  lamb  in  meat  and  weight  for  the 
London  market. 

"  Practically  the  whole  sheep  breed  of  the  North  Island  flocks 
are  Romney  Marsh  cross ;  the  bulk  of  the  ewes  there  are  of  this 
cross.  The  Romney  of  to-day  in  New  Zealand  is  not  the  fiddle- 
headed  sheep  of  thirty  years  ago,  and  it  is  undoubtedly  a 
profitable  and  popular  breed.  Full  credit  must  be  given  to  the 
Romney  Marsh  breed  for  the  large  percentage  of  lambs  reared 
in  the  North  Island  under  a  heavy  rainfall. 

"  A  very  fine  good  quality  ram,  either  Southdown,  English 
Leicester,  or  Shropshire,  is  more  necessary  to-day  in  Canterbury 
than  ever  it  was,  to  give  shape  and  finish  to  the  freezing  lamb, 


IMPROVING  FLOCKS  AND  HERDS  97 

if  we  arc  to  keep  up  the  old  quality.  For  the  reason  that  as 
the  merino  owe  becomes  less  and  less  in  number,  we  lose  on  the 
mother's  side  one  of  the  main  elements  of  our  supremacy  in 
quality  of  meat.  Thousands  of  acres  of  hill  land  that  used  to 
carry  merinos  are  now  carrying  *  in-bred  half-breds,'  generally 
called  '  Corriedales,'  most  of  them  Lincoln-merino  cross.  The 
first  and  by  far  the  oldest,  and  I  might  almost  say  best,  in-bred 
half-bred  flock  is  the  one  still  in  existence  started  by  the  New 
Zealand  and  Australian  Land  Co.  on  the  Levels,  near  Timaru. 
Since  the  Levels  was  sold  to  the  Government,  the  flock  has 
been  carried  on  at  Moraki.  These  sheep  have  proved  on  many 
runs  in  Canterbury  more  profitable  than  merino  flocks.  Heavy 
culling  every  year  is  necessary  in  this  made  breed  between  two 
sheep  so  opposite  in  character  as  a  Lincoln  or  Leicester  ram 
and  a  merino  ewe.  Ewes  from  the  hill  in-bred  half-bred  flocks 
are  now  coming  down  on  to  the  plains  to  be  used  as  farmers' 
breeding  ewes  for  the  lamb  export  trade,  and  taking  the  place 
of  the  old  half-bred  English  Leicester  or  Lincoln  merino,  the 
latter,  without  doubt,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  sheep  ever 
produced  for  mutton  and  wool  combined.  As  in-bred  half- 
breds  in  many  cases  are  the  mothers  of  the  fat  lambs  to-day,  it 
is  more  necessary  to  use  a  very  high-class  Southdown,  English 
Leicester,  or  Shropshire  ram  to  keep  up  the  quality  and  shape 
of  the  sheep. 

"  The  New  Zealand  and  Australian  Land  Co.,  and  John 
Little,  of  Waikari,  North  Canterbury,  were  amongst  the  first 
breeders  of  in-bred  half-breds,  now  named  '  Corriedales.' 
Many  others  are  breeding  in-bred  half-breds  to-day,  notably 
Sir  George  Clifford,  of  Stonehurst,  whose  flock  is  of  Lincoln- 
merino  foundation. 

"  To-day  the  farmers  of  Canterbury  find  the  lamb  trade 
much  more  profitable  than  mutton,  as  they  get  for  a  lamb  five 
to  six  months  old  the  same  price  as  they  would  get  for  a 
wether  if  they  kept  him  another  year.  Therefore,  the  bulk  of 
the  stock  in  farmers'  hands  in  Canterbury  are  breeding  ewes. 
The  English  Leicester  is  still  the  favoured  sheep  of  Canterbury 
for  breeding  fat  lambs  ;  from  this  cross  the  lamb  is  of  nice 
quality,  and  the  pick  of  the  ewe  lambs  are  kept  for  breeding. 

P.M.  H 


98      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Where  farmers  on  heavy  land  mix  grain  growing  with  lamb 
fattening,  the  Southdown  or  Shropshire  is  used,  and  all  the 
lambs  are  sent  away  fat.  There  is  no  doubt  that  from  a 
Romney,  Lincoln,  or  Leicester  cross  ewe  the  Southdown  half- 
bred  lamb  is  of  the  best  freezing  quality.  Finally,  no  country 
in  the  world  has  a  finer  record  of  natural  increase  in  sheep  per 
annum  ;  with  a  total  number  of  23,000,000  sheep,  New  Zealand 
in  1910  exported  1,968,254  sheep  and  3,522,333  lambs  (without 
reducing  her  total  very  much),  and  fed  her  1,000,000  inhabi- 
tants at  the  same  time.  The  total  number  of  ewes  bred  from 
were  about  10,000,000.  I  believe  the  average  percentage  of 
lambs  reared  is  about  90  per  cent.,  this  shows  clearly  New 
Zealand's  splendid  advantages  as  a  pastoral  country." 

Argentine  Imports  of  Pedigree  Stock. — The  improvement 
of  the  flocks  and  herds  in  Argentina,  rendered  necessary  for 
the  successful  establishment  and  prosecution  of  an  export  trade 
in  meat,  began  at  an  early  stage  by  the  importation  of  pedigree 
stock  from  Great  Britain.  Argentine  buyers  for  many  years 
have  been  the  great  supporters  of  Great  Britain's  most  flourish- 
ing landed  industry,  pedigree  stock  breeding  ;  their  determina- 
tion in  securing  the  best  animals  practically  regardless  of  cost 
and  the  extensive  scale  of  their  operations  have  resulted  in  a 
vast  improvement  in  the  marketing  stock  slaughtered  for  the 
frozen  and  chilled  meat  trades.  In  the  thirty-one  years, 
1880 — 1910,  Argentina  imported  from  all  countries  for  breeding 
purposes  18,709  cattle  and  77,505  sheep.  From  1885  to  1908 
an  analysis  of  the  imports  from  Great  Britain  gives  12,094 
Durham  cattle  and  55,338  Lincoln  sheep.  It  is  not  easy  to 
estimate  the  monetary  value  of  these  imports  of  pedigree  stock, 
but  the  figures,  £70  per  head  for  cattle,  and  £15  per  head  for 
sheep,  may  be  taken  to  represent  the  value  realized  very 
approximately  by  British  breeders  for  their  exports.  Applying 
this  valuation  to  the  cattle  and  sheep  exported  from  all  countries 
to  the  Argentine  Republic  for  breeding  purposes  for  the 
period  named  above,  the  following  totals — representing,  roughly, 
the  f .o.b.  values — are  arrived  at : — 

Cattle          ....     18,709          £1,309,630 
Sheep  .          .          .     77,505          £1,162,575 


UWi 


"KIIIV  I.KIU.V  .  ii  VMI-I..N."  LINCOLN  BAM  (UK<;ISTKHEI>  NO.  9722,  VOLUMK  16). 

H-iiry  l>ii.|.lnii:.    Hil>y  <ir..\.-.  lii  iiii-l.y.  on  July   12,   I1XW,  to  Mr.  K.  Mill«-r,  whom-  |«>rtn«it  np|»Mir«  li 
•UoM  Cobo,  of  KitUncia  La  Ifc-lcn.  AlfMttML     Tlic  |>rif<-  |«i«l.  l,4>i  XUIIHM<,  wan  thr  lu»:li>->t  rvrr  pat<l  t«r   i 
Ram  ablpped  to  South  America. 

7l»  fact  p.  98. 


IMI'HOVIV.     PLOCKB     AM)     IIKltnS  W 

The  average  f.o.b.  valuation  <>t  tho  5,618  pedigree  bulls 
shipped  from  the  United  Kingdom  to  Argentina  from  1903  to 
1009,  inclusive,  was  £100  each.  Tho  figures  of  exports  of 
tish  pedigree  stock  for  the  complete  period  1880 — 1910  arc 
not  available,  but  the  fact  that  British  breeders  exported  15,470 
cattle  and  71,359  sheep  to  the  Republic  from  1885  to  1910 
(twenty-six  years)  shows  what  a  preponderating  share  of  the 
business  has  fallen  to  them. 

That  the  expenditure  of  these  large  sums  by  tho  enterprising 
Argentine  estancieros  has  been  remunerative  no  one  can  doubt 
who  is  acquainted  with  the  good  quality  of  the  beef  and  mutton 
now  imported  into  Great  Britain  from  the  Republic.  In  the  export 
beef  trade  the  ideal  to  work  up  to  is  the  marketing  of  chilled 
beef,  an  article  highly  superior  to  frozen  beef  from  a  selling  point 
of  view.     That  the  managers  of  the  Argentine  frigorificos  are 
able  to  purchase  cattle  good  enough  for  chilling  may  be  placed 
to  the  credit  of  the  policy  under  which  the  estancieros  and  other 
importers  have  since  1880  spent  a  sum  approaching  two  and  a 
half  millions  sterling  in  improving  the  cattle  stock  of  the  country. 
Reference  is  made  in  another  chapter  to  the  benefit  to  the 
English  and  Scotch  pedigree  stock  breeders  which  has  accrued 
by  this  demand  from  South  America.     It  is  a  curious  reflection, 
but  obvious,  that,  whilst  the  British  breeders  in  building  up  the 
pure-bred  stock  export  trade  have  brought  English  agriculture 
in  this  particular  section  to  a  high  condition  of  prosperity,  they 
have  prepared  a  rod  for  the  backs  of  the  British  farmer  !     For, 
although  to  the  public  of  Great  Britain,  the  £10,500,000  worth 
of  frozen  and  chilled  meat  imported  during  1910  was  a  blessing, 
it  was  obviously   regarded  in   quite   another  light  by   the 
farmers. 


CHAPTER  VII 

THE   STOCKKAISERS'   MARKET 

THIS  is  a  very  important  and  practical  department  of  the 
subject.  It  would  not  be  difficult  to  outline  the  system  which 
regulates  the  handling  of  the  frozen  carcass  through  the  various 
stages,  from  discharge  at  the  London  or  Liverpool  wharf  to  the 
final  destination  at  the  retailer's  shop,  but  something  more 
than  generalization  is  wanted  here. 

The  Argentine  Way. 

Before  following  the  meat  from  ship  to  shop,  it  is  well  to 
take  a  step  backwards  and  refer  to  the  methods  by  which  the 
shipment  of  frozen  meat  is  worked.  To  take  the  simplest  way 
first — the  South  American.  Meat  shipped  from  Argentina  is 
the  property  of  the  freezing  works,  which,  in  all  but  a  few 
instances,  have  their  own  offices  in  London,  and  depots,  and  a 
complete  system  for  the  sale  of  the  meat  at  various  ports  and 
important  marketing  centres  throughout  England.  Messrs. 
James  Nelson  and  Sons  have  about  1,500  retail  shops,  and 
two  of  the  other  Argentine  companies  own  shops.  In  the 
case  of  all  the  South  American  frozen  meat  shipped  to  Great 
Britain,  the  officials  in  England,  or  the  regular  agents  of 
those  companies  which  have  not  English  offices,  take  charge 
of  and  realize  the  goods  in  their  own  shops,  on  the  market, 
or  ex  store.  There  is  much  less  forward  selling  in  the  South 
American  than  in  the  Australasian  trade.  Much  of  the 
Uruguayan,  Patagonian,  and  Venezuelan  meat  is  sold  forward, 
and  Argentine  has  been,  and  is  occasionally  thus  sold  now. 
One  important  difference  has  marked  the  Argentine  selling 
system  as  compared  with  the  Australasian.  In  the  former 
trade  the  meat  is,  as  a  rule,  turned  over  quickly  ;  the  holders 
have  averaged  the  market  values  and  sold  steadily  right 


THE    STOCK  K.\I<KRS'    MARKET  101 

along,  and  have  used  the  cold  stores  merely  as  rccei\  inu' 
ilr|,..ts  for  their  meat.  Continuous  supplies  have  enabled 
the  Argentine  companies  to  develop  distribution  pretty  well 
on  rrtail  linos,  and  owing  to  regular  and  continuous  imports 
into  Great  Britain  the  Argentine  houses  have  been  able  to 
avoid,  to  a  great  extent,  the  embarrassing  accumulations 
ami  temporary  scarcities  which  have  so  frequently  caused 
disaster  to  those  engaged  in  the  necessarily  more  speculative 
Au-trolosian  trade,  in  which,  unfortunately,  there  has  always 
been  a  lack  of  continuity  in  supplies.  The  advantage  of  an 
extended  season  enables  Argentine  shippers  to  export  practi- 
cally uniform  monthly  quantities.  (Australasian  works  all 
have  a  more  or  less  lengthy  "  closed  down  "  period.)  Mention 
may  be  made  of  the  freight  contracts  for  definite  quantities, 
to  cover  long  periods,  made  in  the  Argentine  trade,  say,  one  to 
three  years,  and  shippers  are  under  penalty  to  ship  these 
specified  quantities  at  regular  intervals,  be  the  British  market 
good  or  bad,  or  pay  dead  freight. 

Australasian    Methods. 

The  Australian  and  New  Zealand  meat  export  business  is 
worked  in  two  ways.  First,  there  is  the  old-fashioned  con- 
signment or  commission  system,  by  which  the  grower  or  the 
merchant  ships  on  owner's  account.  All  the  trade  in  the  early 
days  was  conducted  on  this  basis.  It  was  then  very  commonly 
the  practice  for  exporters  of  small  lots  to  send  the  meat  through 
the  banks  or  wool  houses  ;  such  consignees,  knowing  nothing 
of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  sent  the  documents  to  Smithfield 
salesmen.  Nowadays  in  New  Zealand  the  owner  of  the  stock 
takes  the  risk  of  the  London  market  to  a  limited  extent ;  in 
Australia  the  grower  does  not  do  this,  preferring  to  sell  his 
stock  to  the  freezing  companies,  which,  in  order  to  keep  their 
factories  going,  have  to  buy  from  the  graziers  and  pastoralists 
extensively.  The  Australian  producer  nowadays  is  not  anxious 
to  become  a  direct  shipper  to  the  British  market  on  consignment, 
but  in  the  early  days  of  the  Queensland  export  a  very  large 
proportion  of  the  beef  was  sent  forward  at  the  growers'  risk. 


102      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

We  may  take  it  that  the  Australian  meat  producer,  as  a  rule, 
sells  to  the  shipper,  who  either  consigns  or  sells  forward,  accord- 
ing to  circumstances.  The  London  offices  of  the  Australasian 
banks  receive  a  small  amount  of  business,  but  the  great  bulk 
of  consignments  is  sent  direct  to  the  houses  which  lay  them- 
selves out  specially  for  this  trade.  The  advances  to  the  shipper 
are  calculated  in  much  the  same  way  as  in  any  other  trade, 
and  generally  bear  a  fixed  relation  to  the  London  value  of  the 
meat  at  the  time  of  sailing.  The  charges  on  account  sales  are 
generally  on  one  of  two  bases,  either  a  consolidated  rate  (a 
method  very  little  used  now),  which  covers  all  expenses  from 
the  ship's  rail  in  London  up  to  rendering  account  sales,  or 
charging  all  actual  out-of-pocket  expenses,  such  as  lighterage, 
storage,  fire  insurance,  cartage,  pitching  and  market  tolls, 
railage,  interest,  port  dues,  etc.,  plus  brokerage.  The  Smithfield 
salesman's  commission  is  2  per  cent.,  and  the  bank  or  agent 
usually  charges  1  per  cent,  for  his  work. 

Buying  and  Selling  Forward  on  C.I.F.  Terms. 

With  the  introduction  of  the  grading  process,  about  1890, 
purchasing  frozen  meat  forward  became  possible.  Large 
retailers  in  London  and  the  Provinces  who  have  regular  outlets 
for  meat  of  a  certain  quality  and  weight  at  once  saw  that  they 
could  partly  cover  their  requirements  for  many  months  in 
advance  by  means  of  contracting  to  buy  on  a  cost,  freight,  and  yv\ 
insurance  basis.  This  system  has  had  to  be  adopted  with  the 
leading  lines  of  perishable  food  produce  handled  by  the  large 
stores  and  "  multiple  shop  "  companies.  It  has  been  applied 
quite  scientifically  to  the  frozen  meat  trade,  and  represents  one 
of  the  most  important  and  interesting  developments.  The 
volume  of  business  passing  during  the  last  ten  or  fifteen  years 
on  this  basis  has  been  very  considerable,  but  is  apt  to  fluctuate 
widely,  according  to  the  requirements  of  the  "  multiple  shop  " 
companies,  and  shippers'  costs.  In  the  disastrous  1909  season, 
when  frozen  lamb  fell  50  per  cent,  in  price  on  the  rates  of  the 
previous  year,  forward  buyers  dropped  money  heavily,  and  it 
must  be  noted  that  a  proportion  (though  quite  a  small  one)  of 


THE    STOCKRAISERS*    MARKET  loi 

the  o.i.f.  purchasers  are  purely  speculators.  The  c.i.f.  system 
was  started  in  New  Zealand,  and  receives  iN  nioM  seientilir 
development  there.  In  Australia,  speaking  of  meat  shipments 
as  a  whole,  grading  has  not  been  so  thoroughly  mastered  as  in 
New  Zealand,  and  without  reliable  grading  for  quality  and 
weight  the  forward  trade  is  not  seen  at  its  best.  Australian 
trade  is  severely  handicapped  in  this  respect,  and  lower  prices 
ai<  paid  to  cover  faulty  grading.  A  larger  percentage  of 
Australian  than  of  New  Zealand  meat  is  now  sold  on  c.i.f. 
terms.  Whilst  it  is  true  that  Australian  grading  of  frozen 
meat,  as  a  whole,  is  not  as  reliable  as  is  desirable,  nearly 
every  one  in  the  trade  will  accept  the  brands  of  some  of  the 
Commonwealth  shippers  as  meritorious  examples  of  the  grading 
system. 

How  the  C.I.F.  Trade  is  Worked. 

The  modus  operandi  in  the  c.i.f.  business  is  as  follows.  The 
representatives  in  London  (termed  in  the  trade  "  agents  ") 
of  the  freezing  companies,  having  certain  lines  of  mutton  and 
lamb  of  specified  weights  on  their  books,  go  round  to  their 
c.i.f.  buyers  on  Smithfield  and  telephone  to  their  country 
clients  in  the  endeavour  to  fix  up  contracts  ;  the  cable  is 
freely  used  in  the  business.  When  a  sale  is  made,  a  formal 
contract  passes  between  seller  and  buyer ;  there  are 
several  different  forms  current.  The  contract  fixes  the 
time  for  shipment,  either  by  the  month  or  the  steamer  being 
specified.  On  the  arrival  of  the  carrying  vessel,  the  buyer 
pays  net  cash  against  documents  (bill  of  lading  and  insurance 
policy),  and  takes  possession  of  the  meat,  provided  that  the 
documents  are  in  order,  as  to  brand,  port  of  shipment,  date  of 
bill  of  lading,  terms  of  insurance,  range  of  weights,  etc.  If  the 
bill  of  lading  bears  date  the  first  day  of  the  month  following, 
ur  the  last  day  of  the  month  preceding,  the  specified  month, 
there  is  a  breach  of  contract.  Forward  sales  have  been  made 
for  as  long  as  six  months  ahead,  but  a  more  common  plan  is 
to  sell  month  by  month.  Under  this  system,  the  shipper  has 
to  stand  the  cost  of  freight,  insurance,  and  exchange,  and  the 


104      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

buyer  in  England  bears  all  costs  of  landing,  storing,  and  market 
tolls,  also  loss  of  weight  up  to  an  agreed  percentage. 

Ex  ship  sales  are  practically  a  department  of  the  "  forward  " 
system  of  doing  business  ;  the  term  may  be  applied  to  contracts 
made  after  the  carrying  vessel  has  sailed,  but  is  principally 
used  for  sales  made  after  the  ship  has  arrived  at  London.  The 
agent,  having  documents  in  his  hands  representing  consign- 
ments sent  to  his  care,  may  make  a  contract  when  he  takes 
delivery  from  the  vessel. 

Allowances  Off  Actual  Weights. 

An  interesting  question  which  may  be  referred  to  at  this 
point  is  that  of  allowances  off  actual  weights  made  in  the 
frozen  meat  trade.  The  c.i.f .  or  ex  ship  buyer  pays  on  colonial 
bill  of  lading  weights,  which  represent  a  deduction  of  from  5 
to  6  per  cent,  off  the  "  hot  "  or  "  green  "  weight.  Occa- 
sionally meat  is  weighed  "  cold,"  while  some  of  the  Argentine 
companies  weigh  the  carcasses  in  a  frozen  state,  in  lots  of 
20,  in  order  to  arrive  at  the  bill  of  lading  weight.  Sellers 
guarantee  that  the  loss  on  weight  when  the  carcasses  are 
weighed  in  store  at  the  time  of  delivery  shall  not  exceed  an 
agreed  percentage,  usually  2  per  cent.,  from  the  bill  of  lading 
weight. 

At  Smithfield  when  selling  off  the  hooks  the  weights  are 
taken  as  a  rule  without  the  wrappers,  and  buyers  claim 
allowances  from  these  weights  to  cover  the  loss  in  cutting  up 
and  the  turn  of  the  scale.  These  allowances  vary  slightly  in 
accordance  with  the  terms  of  sale.  Until  recently  abatements 
had  been  accorded  only  in  the  London  trade,  but  they 
have  now  been  introduced  at  Liverpool  and  elsewhere,  as  far 
as  Australasian  meat  is  concerned.  The  allowances  in  question 
from  the  gross  weight  are  2  Ibs.  on  each  New  Zealand  sheep, 
8  Ibs.  on  every  five  Australian  and  South  American  sheep, 
1  Ib.  on  each  lamb,  and  2  to  3  Ibs.  on  each  quarter  of  beef, 
according  to  the  nature  of  the  wrapper.  The  allowance  on 
Australian  beef  was  reduced  from  2  Ibs.  to  1  Ib.  per  quarter  by 
concerted  action  of  the  agents  at  a  time  when  supplies  were  in 


Tl IK    STOCKRAISERS1    MARKET 

or  two  hands,  and  that  reduction  waa  accepted  for  many 
years.  Latterly  the  old  scale  has  been  reverted  to  owing  to 
the  keen  competition  amongst  sellers.  This  London  "  bate  " 
formed  the  ground  for  strife  between  the  North  American 
"  Beef  Trust  "  houses  and  Smithfield  a  long  time  ago.  When 
these  firms  first  opened  their  business  in  Great  Britain,  they 
allowed  the  usual  "  bate  "  of  1  Ib.  off  their  chilled  beef  quarters, 
but  when  they  got  firmly  settled  down,  and  were  sufficiently 
strong  to  dictate  to  their  customers,  they  withdrew  this  allow- 
ance. The  battle  was  sharp,  but  as  the  American  refrigerated 
beef  had  become  by  that  time  absolutely  necessary  to  the 
Smithfield  salesman,  the  position  of  the  Americans  was  im- 
pregnable. Their  victory,  however,  left  a  bitter  feeling,  traces 
of  which  are  observable  to  this  day.  The  origin  of  the  market 
allowances  on  mutton  is  obscure.  Some  people  trace  it  to  the 
time  when  Scotch  mutton  was  sent  to  Smithfield  with  the 
kidneys  left  in  the  carcasses  ;  as  kidneys  had  no  value,  appa- 
rently, the  salesmen  removed  them  or  allowed  the  buyer  1  Ib. 
off  the  consignors'  weight.  But  frozen  sheep,  as  a  rule,  contain 
no  kidneys !  The  allowance  is  made  partly  to  cover  the 
butcher's  loss  by  wastage  in  cutting  the  meat  into  small 
joints.  As  far  back  as  one  can  discover  from  research,  the 
Smithfield  custom  was  to  allow  1  Ib.  draft  on  every  quarter 
of  beef  and  3  Ibs.  per  side,  besides  tare. 

The  Great  Grading  Question. 

As  grading  of  the  carcass  is  the  foundation  of  the  c.i.f .  trade, 
some  remarks  on  the  system  may  be  made.  The  earliest  refer- 
ences appear  in  the  year  1890.  At  that  time  grading  and 
classification  on  more  exact  lines  were  suggested  to  facilitate 
mercantile  handling  of  New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb. 
"  Forward  "  sales  on  c.f .  and  i.  basis  had  increased,  and  this 
system  of  carrying  on  the  trade  necessitated  the  employment 
of  more  precise  standards  of  quality  and  weight.  In  the 
nineties  the  "  multiple  shop  "  principle  of  trading  began  to 
be  developed  in  the  large  cities  of  England,  and  the  proprietors 
of  these  businesses  found  it  as  convenient  to  contract  for 


106       A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

forward  delivery  of  their  frozen  meat — in  the  case  of  meat 
retailing  concerns — as  the  New  Zealand  farmers  found  it 
convenient  to  secure  a  market  on  the  spot  by  selling  outright 
to  the  freezing  companies.  As  the  multiple  shop  companies 
grew,  the  necessity  to  cover  requirements  some  months 
ahead  and  to  guard  against  sudden  variations  in  values 
became  more  pressing,  with  the  result  that  the  c.i.f.  system 
became  incorporated  as  a  fundamental  part  of  the  New  Zealand 
frozen  meat  trade.  It  has  had  many  critics,  and  had  it 
remained  as  it  began — only  a  speculative  affair  (on  the  part 
of  buyers) — the  "forward"  trade,  and  possibly  the  trade  as 
a  whole,  would  not  have  assumed  the  volume  and  regularity 
it  now  possesses.  As  the  introduction  of  grading  is  one  of  the 
great  historic  events  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  the  following 
extract  from  a  market  review  of  1890  is  of  interest : — 

"  In  view  of  the  vast  extent  of  the  trade  and  its  established 
character,  some  serious  efforts  should  be  made  to  grade  and 
classify  the  exports  from  New  Zealand  in  a  more  thorough 
manner  than  has  hitherto  been  done." 

It  was  found  by  importers  that  the  brand  was  not  such  a 
guarantee  of  uniformity  and  quality  as  forward  buyers  required. 
As  a  record,  there  may  be  inserted  here  the  grades  in  force  at 
the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.'s  works  at  Dunedin  in 
August,  1890  : 

A.  Sheep  55  to  70  Ibs.      . 

B.  „      50  to  54   „         .         .         .1  Crossbred  wethers 

C.  each  weighing  from  71  Ibs.  upwards  v  and 

D.  ranging  from  40  to  50  Ibs.    .          .         maiden  ewes. 
MER.    Merinos  45  Ibs.  and  upwards 

This  company  was  the  first  concern  to  sell  c.i.f.  and  the  first 
to  grade  for  weight.  It  always  failed  to  grade  satisfactorily 
for  quality. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  trade  the  only  thing  necessary  in 
this  connection  was  that  the  meat  should  be  graded  to  quality, 
the  demand  in  the  first  instance  being  largely  for  heavy 
weights  in  mutton.  As  the  trade  developed  it  was  found  that 
the  requirements  of  Smithfield  were  turning  to  lighter  weight 


•nil.    s' I '(UK  KAISERS*    MARKET  107 

sheep  ;  buyers  paid  a  higher  price  for  light  mutton,  say, 
under  64  Ibs.,  than  for  the  heavy  carcasses  which  had  been 
oniiimrily  shipped.  The  tendency  for  the  favourite  weight  of 
sheep  to  grow  steadily  less  and  less  is  largely  due  to  the 
insistent  demand  of  the  lower  classes  for  variety  on  their  table. 
The  small  joint  sells  first  because  the  wife  of  the  English  artisan 
and  labourer  is  not  skilled  in  making  tasty  dishes  out  of  cold 
meat.  In  1887  the  most  favoured  weight  was  64  Ibs.,  to-day 
it  is  from  48  to  52  Ibs.  The  first  grading  suggestions  from 
London  favoured  the  somewhat  arbitrary  system  of  classifying 
the  mutton  carcasses  into  5-lb.  grades.  After  consideration 
it  was  found  more  commercially  convenient  to  adopt  the  stone 
grade  of  8  Ibs.  ;  this  brought  the  New  Zealand  mutton  grading 
into  correspondence  with  the  weight  measure  regulating 
sales  of  live  and  dead  meat  in  the  London  trade.  The  grades 
on  this  basis  of  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co. — practically,  also, 
of  the  Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  Co. — are  as  follow.  The  New 
Zealand  (North  Island),  Australian,  and  South  American  systems 
are  different.  But  as  these  Canterbury  grades  have  much 
currency  at  Smithfield,  it  is  convenient  to  give  them. 

Sheep  .  Under  48  Ibs.  .  .  Weight  brand  1 

„  .  48  to  56  Ibs.  .  „  7 

„  .  56  to  64  Ibs.  .  ,,3 

„  .  64  to  72  Ibs.  .  .  ,,9 

„  .  Over  72  Ibs.  .  ,,5 

Lambs  .  Under  36  Ibs.  .  ,,2 

.  36  to  42  Ibs.  .  ,,8 

„  .  42  to  50  Ibs.  .  .               ,,4 

Tegs  .  Over  50  Ibs.  .  „            T 

These  weight  grades  are  mainly  for  the  South  Island  of 
New  Zealand ;  the  North  Island  favours  to  some  degree  this 
gradation  :  under  50  Ibs.,  50—55,  55 — 60,  60—65,  65 — 70,  and 
over  70.  The  Wellington  Meat  Export  Co.'s  grades  for 
mutton  run  :  under  55  Ibs.,  55 — 65,  and  65 — 70.  Other 
exporters  adopt  slight  variations  on  these  classifications.  It 
would  certainly  be  convenient  if  one  standard  could  be 
adopted  for  the  whole  of  the  freezing  works  of  the  Dominion. 


108       A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

It  may  be  stated  that  the  8-lb.  butcher's  stone  of  the  London 
trade  is  not  accepted  at  Liverpool  or  any  other  large  centres  of 
the  United  Kingdom,  where  meat  transactions  go  by  the  pound. 

The  sheep  and  lamb  carcasses  are  first  graded  for  quality, 
and  then  for  weight.  Beef  is  also  weight-graded,  but  on 
broader  lines,  the  favourite  range  of  weights  being  from  160  to 
220  Ibs.  per  quarter  :  under  160  Ibs.,  160—180,  180—200,  200— 
220,  and  over  220. 

Probably  the  first  c.i.f.  transaction  on  record,  the  authors 
learn  on  inquiry,  was  a  sale  in  1888  of  2,000  Dunedin  sheep 
to  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd.,  by  Messrs.  A.  S.  Paterson 
and  Co.,  of  Dunedin,  through  their  London  agents,  Messrs.  W. 
Weddel  and  Co. 

Argentine  Grading1. — With  regard  to  the  grading  of  Argen- 
tine frozen  meat,  each  company  grades  its  own  meat  in  its 
own  way — there  is  no  general  classification,  as  there  is  with 
Australasian  mutton  and  lamb.  The  shipments  of  mutton  and 
lamb  from  Argentina  mainly  represent  first  quality ;  secondary, 
or  relatively  inferior,  meat  is  shipped  separately  under  certain 
marks,  but  the  classifications  used  in  the  Australian  trade — 
"  g.a.q."  "  f.a.q.,"  etc. — are  not  recognized  in  the  Argentine 
trade.  The  weight  grades  of  the  Compania  Sansinena  de 
Games  Congeladas  for  mutton  are :  40  to  46  Ibs.,  47  to  56, 
57  to  64,  65  to  72,  and  over  72.  The  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat 
Company's  classifications  are  as  follows.  Mutton ;  40  to  48  Ibs., 
49  to  54,  55  to  60,  61  to  68,  69  to  75.  Lamb  ;  under  30  Ibs., 
31  to  36,  37  to  40,  41  to  44,  45  to  50.  Beef  is  graded  as 
systematically  as  mutton,  but  both  chilled  and  frozen  are 
graded  more  for  quality  than  for  weight.  The  two  Patagonian 
companies  grade  for  weight  and  quality,  and  grading  is  also 
practised  at  the  Uruguayan  and  Venezuelan  works. 

Rates  and  Freights. 

In  one  way  or  another  the  grower  cashes  his  meat  partially 
or,  in  cases  of  outright  sales,  entirely  at  the  time  of  shipment. 
His  banker  or  agent  at  the  port  of  shipment  makes  no  difficulty 
under  ordinary  circumstances  about  advancing  75  per  cent,  of 


Till.     >T«M   KK  \|>|   |{>       U    UIKI    i 


109 


the  then  market  value  of  the  meat.  Companies  handling  a 
large  quantity,  of  course,  make  special  arrangements  with  their 
bankers.  Farmers  shipping  through  freezing  companies  are 
sometimes  charged  a  "  consolidated  rate,"  covering  everything 
from  works  to  sale  at  the  Central  Markets,  London.  This 
inclusive  rate  may  be  roughly  stated  as  l^d.io  \\d.  per  Ib.  on  a 
parcel  of  mutton  or  lamb  shipped  from  New  Zealand  to  London. 
As  the  companies  do  so  much  buying  now,  the  "  consolidated 
rate  "  may  be  considered  old-fashioned.  The  economy  now 
existing  in  the  trade  is  noted  in  comparing  these  figures  with 
those  of,  say,  1893-1894,  when  the  movement  for  reducing 
charges  in  Australia  was  initiated.  The  New  Zealand  con- 
solidated rate  then  in  force  was  rsod.  per  Ib.,  and  that  on  beef 
shipped  from  Queensland  was  2-49(2.  The  charge  to-day  on 
Queensland  mutton  is  Urf.,  when  squatters  ship  on  their  own 
account.  Going  back  to  1885,  the  shipper  in  New  Zealand 
of  a  65-lb.  sheep  was  mulcted,  on  the  above  basis,  to  the  extent 
of  3£<2.  per  Ib.  (in  1883,  4d.) :  colonial  charges  \d.t  transport  2Jd., 
and  London  expenses  fd.  Selling  his  meat  at  5d.  per  Ib., 
he  netted  about  8s.  on  his  sheep.  By  1888  the  total 
charges  had  dropped  to  2'6ld.  per  Ib.  Now  they  are  l$d. 
per  Ib. 

The  freight  on  frozen  meat  from  New  Zealand  has  been  fixed 
from  1905  on  the  following  scale  : — 


— 

Mutton. 

Lamb. 

Lamborer 
421ba. 

Boef. 

I.'V-  "f 

Mutton. 

From  December  to  May,  inclusive 
From  June  to  November,  inclusive 

Per  Ib. 

Per  Ib. 

M. 

Per  Ib. 
tt* 
A* 

Per  Ib. 
i<*' 

Per  Ib. 

New  Zealand  Brands. 

On  p.  110  appear  the  leading  brands  used  by  the  New 
Zealand  meat  works.  Many  of  these  are  at  the  same  time 
quality  grade  marks,  such  as  "  Eclipse,"  "  Sun,"  etc. 

farmers  in  New  Zealand  have  been  in  clover  for  many 
yean  past  as  regards  the  realization  of  their  meat.    Most  of 


110       A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 


Town. 

Name  of  Freezing  Works. 

Brands. 

Auckland 

Auckland  Sheep  Farmers'  Co. 

Same  in  full  and  "  Glas." 

Gisborne  . 

Gisborne  Sheep  Farmers'  Co. 

Name  in  full. 

Circle. 

Napier    . 

Nelson  Brothers  

Circle. 

North  British  and  Hawke's  Bay  Freez- 

1 N.  B.  &  H.  B.  F.  Co." 

ing  Co. 

T.  Borthwick  and  Sons 

"Paki  Paki,'1  "Hastings." 

Wellington 

Wellington  Meat  Export  Co. 

"W.M.E.Co.,""N.G.A.," 

and  name  in  full. 

Longburn  Meat  Freezing  Co. 

"  Longburn,    N.Z.,"    and 

sub-marks. 

Gear  Meat  Preserving  and  Freezing 

"  G.  C." 

Co.  of  New  Zealand. 

Masterton 

Wellington  Farmers'  Meat  Co.     . 

"W.  F.  M.,"  "Taratabi," 

and  "  Masterton." 

Patea 

Patea  Freezing  Works  .... 

"  Patea  Freezing  Works." 

Wanganui 

Wanganui  Meat  Freezing  Co. 

"  Wanganui  "    (red    and 

black),  Thistle. 

Waitara  . 

T.  Borthwick  and  Sons 

"  Waitara,  N.Z.,"  "Mount 

Egmont." 

Stoke 

Nelson  Freezing  Co  

"  N.  F.  C.,"  "  Stoke,"  One 

Anchor,      and       Two 

Anchors. 

Picton     . 

Christchurch  Meat  Co. 

"C.  M.  C.,"   "Wairau," 

Crown,      and      Three 

Crowns. 

Belfast    . 

Canterbury  Frozen  Meat  and  Dairy  \ 

f 

Produce  Export  Co. 

1  "  C.   F.    M.    Co.,"  Dia- 

Fairfield . 

n                   »                   »i 

mond,  and  Star. 

Pareoroa  .        . 

'!                                         ))                                         ))                      ) 

I 

Islington 

Christchurch  Meat  Company    J 

Smithfield  (or 

>»               ii            » 

i  «  Eclipse,"  "  C.  M.  C.," 

Timaru) 

y.    . 

j      Sun,  One  Crown,  Three 

Oamaru  . 

t»                             M                      )l                      I 

I      Crowns. 

Burnside         » 

"                              !>                       1'                      J 

Hornby  . 

"C.  M.  C."and"C.F.M. 

Co."   777  (the  brands 

denote   the    various 

Canterbury     works 

where  the  stock  were 

killed). 

Mat  aura  . 

Southland  Frozen  Meat  Co.  ( 

f"S.    F.  M.   C.,"  "M.," 

Wallace  Town 

11             11            » 

(     "  Z.,"  and  Crosskeys. 

Ocean  Beach  . 

Birt  and  Co  

"  Princeps,"  "0.  B."  VJOH 

Tokomaru 

Tokomaru  Farmers'  Freezing  Co. 

"  Tokomaru,"  "  Waima," 

and  "Tawhiti." 

them  sell  their  live  stock  on  the  farm,  or  at  so  much  per  Ib. 
at  the  works.  Their  market,  at  high  prices,  frequently  too 
high  (compared  with  London),  has  been  assured.  The  disas- 
trous 1909  season  would  probably  have  had  the  effect  of 


11  IK    STOCKRAISERS'    MARKET  111 

lowering  the  value  of  sheep  and  lambs  in  New  Zealand  for 
freezing  had  not  the  following  year  been  one  of  high  prices 
on  the  English  market.  Some  of  the  New  Zealand  freezing 
companies  operate  on  their  own  account,  while  others  are 
"  farmers'  companies,"  freezing  only.  The  Canterbury 
Fro/en  Meat  Co.,  formed  in  1SS1,  is  an  example  of  the  latter 
system.  Some  companies  combine  the  two  methods. 

Australian  Grades. 

Much  of  the  Australian  mutton  and  lamb — and  it  must  be 
stated  that  grading  in  Australia  is  slowly  improving — is  sold 
on  two  quality  standards :  "  f.a.q."  (fair  average  quality), 
and  "  g.a.q."  (good  average  quality).  Sydney  meat  mostly 
comes  under  the  former,  and  Melbourne  under  the  latter. 
"  F.a.q."  allows  but  little  recourse  on  account  of  quality, 
and  buyers  want  a  considerable  concession  in  price  for  that 
reason.  In  the  cases  of  well-known  accepted  brands, 
with  a  reputation,  the  meat  is  sold  on  f.a.q.  or  g.a.q.  of 
the  brand,  and  the  trouble  arising  from  the  interpretation  of 
"  g.a.q."  is  lessened.  The  difficulty  in  the  Australian  trade 
has  been  the  uncertainty  as  to  a  standard  of  quality.  In  the 
New  Zealand  trade  there  is  a  recognized  basis  of  quality. 
Every  weight  grade  carries  with  it  a  certain  standard,  and  for 
a  delivery  against  sale  a  carcass  must  carry  proportionately  as 
much  weight  as  a  sheep  in  good  condition  would  carry.  With- 
out such  a  standard,  how  can  allowances  be  assessed  ?  In 
the  New  Zealand  business  only  two  grades  denoting  quality 
are  used  in  the  general  trade  :  "  Prime  Quality  "  and  "  Second 
Quality."  With  the  latter,  except  in  extreme  cases,  there  is 
no  recourse  for  the  dissatisfied  purchaser,  who  can  call  for 
surveys  in  the  case  of  "  Prime  Quality."  With  the  North 
Island  companies'  meat  there  is  a  grade  "  good  average 
quality,"  carrying  with  it  recourse.  The  London  c.i.f.  buyer 
has  to  cover  himself  to  the  extent  of  fad.  per  Ib.  in  accepting 
"  colonial  weights  "  ;  that  allows  for  shrinkage  in  freezing  and 
the  London  "  bate." 

Allusion  has  been  made  above  to  the  c.i.f.  form  of  contract 


112      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

commonly  employed  in  the  "  forward  "  trade  (New  Zealand). 
Although  buyers  and  sellers,  assisted  by  the  efforts  of  the 
Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association,  for  years  hammered  away 
at  a  "  uniform  contract,"  the  difficulty  of  harmonizing 
the  many  divergent  views  expressed  was  found  insurmount- 
able. It  is  to  be  hoped  that  a  form  that  commends  itself  to 
the  trade  will  be  generally  adopted  throughout  trading 
centres  in  the  United  Kingdom. 

To  conclude  these  remarks  regarding  the  "  forward  "  system 
of  handling  New  Zealand  and  Australian  meat,  it  may  be 
stated  that,  notwithstanding  the  results  of  the  terrible  1909 
season,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  method  of  selling  the 
meat,  based  as  it  is  upon  the  modern  commercial  ways  of 
working  large  meat  and  provision  shop  businesses,  has  become 
firmly  established  and  will  extend.  There  are,  it  is  true, 
certain  drawbacks  to  it,  but  these,  no  doubt,  in  time  will  be 
partly  or  wholly  removed.  For  instance,  there  is  a  consider- 
able difference  of  opinion,  with  consequent  friction,  as  to  what 
constitutes  the  Australian  grades  referred  to  above,  "  g.a.q." 
and  "  f.a.q.,"  and  some  weakness  in  the  working  of  the  general 
system  is  shown  in  the  arbitrations  as  to  quality  which  are 
frequently  called.  It  is  alleged,  perhaps  without  very  good 
grounds,  that  the  calls  for  these  arbitrations  vary  in  direct 
ratio  to  the  tone  of  the  market.  The  c.i.f .  trade  fluctuates  as 
regards  the  business  done,  depending  upon  the  views  that  are 
held  regarding  the  immediate  future  prospects  of  the  market. 

Discharging  the  Meat  at  the  London  Docks. 

The  stockowner,  although  often  he  may  be  less  concerned 
than  others  financially  in  frozen  meat  cargoes  on  their  arrival 
at  the  port  of  destination,  evinces  a  keen  interest  in  the 
systems  under  which  the  shipments  are  handled  on  discharge, 
and  the  following  information  will,  therefore,  be  of  interest 
to  him  as  well  as  to  others  concerned  in  the  trade. 

The  vessels  conveying  frozen  meat  from  Australasia  to 
London  berth  at  Tilbury,  Victoria,  and  Royal  Albert  Docks, 
and  those  from  South  America  in  the  Victoria,  Royal 


CAPTAIN  NUAKK.S'S  MECHANICAL  CONVKYOI:  HIM  HAKIJINU 
FKOZEN  MEAT  AT  TIIK  HMIT  OF  LONDON. 

To /net-  />. 


THE    STOCKRAISERS'    MARKET  113 

,  and  West  India  Docks.  The  two  Australian  mail  lines, 
which  do  not  carry  a  great  quantity  of  meat  in  each  vessel, 
and  the  White  Star  steamers,  use  the  Tilbury  Docks.  The 
steamers  usually  break  bulk  within  twenty-four  hours  of 
docking,  and  as  a  rule  the  discharging  goes  forward  during 
working  hours  without  any  stoppage  till  completion.  The  dis- 
charging is  done  by  dock  labourers,  who  are  sometimes  the 
employees  of  the  shipowners  and  sometimes  of  firms  of  steve- 
dores discharging  under  contract.  Carcasses  of  mutton  and 
lamb  and  quarters  of  beef  are  commonly  discharged  in 
slings,  but  the  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.,  the  Shaw,  Savill 
and  Albion  Co.,  the  Shire  Line,  and  other  companies,  use 
patent  elevators  and  shoots  for  the  rapid  handling  of  mutton 
and  lamb. 

Noakes'  "  telescopic  elevator  "  was  the  first  appliance  of  the 
kind.  This  <vas  invented  by  Captain  G.  H.  Noakes,  superin- 
tendent of  discharge  to  the  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.  in 
London,  and  was  patented  about  the  year  1900.  It  consists 
of  a  telescopic  frame  carrying  two  endless  chains,  and  on  the 
chains  are  fitted  at  equal  intervals  shelves  or  projections  to 
convey  the  goods.  It  is  driven  off  the  ordinary  ships'  winches 
by  means  of  a  rope  slung  round  from  the  winch  end.  This 
machine  is  portable  and  very  handy,  it  being  possible  to  pick  it 
up  from  the  quay  and  place  it  in  the  hold  ready  for  work 
in  about  twenty  minutes,  and  it  is  capable  of  discharging 
sheep,  cases  of  butter,  crates  of  bananas,  or  any  packages  of 
uniform  size,  at  the  rate  of  over  1,000  per  hour. 

Captain  Noakes  has  recently  designed  an  improved  form  of 
conveyor  for  the  discharge  of  frozen  meat  from  vessels,  which 
consists  of  a  system  of  mechanical  chutes  and  endless  belt- 
carriers  driven  by  small  electric  motors  fitted  inside  the 
mechanical  chute,  leading  from  the  ship's  deck  to  the  quayside. 
This  apparatus,  which  has  lately  been  installed  and  set  to  work 
at  the  London  docks,  is  illustrated  herewith.  Although  the 
driving  is  in  the  upper  part  of  the  chute  the  control  is  at  the 
bottom,  and  a  man  by  pressing  a  button  can  stop  it  imme- 
diately if  necessary.  By  this  system,  in  conjunction  with  the 
elevators  for  raising  the  meat  from  the  holds,  the  carcasses 

K.M.  1 


114      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

are  carried  from  the  hold  to  the  end  of  the  quay  for  delivery, 
without  the  aid  of  meat  slings  or  hand  trucks.  The  mechanical 
chute  does  away  entirely  with  the  system  of  sliding  sheep  down 
chutes,  as  they  rest  against  a  projection,  and  are  carried  down 
by  the  electrically-driven  appliances.  This  prevents  exposure 
(the  carcasses  are  protected  by  canvas  coverings),  bruises  and 
abrasions. 

The  method  of  discharge  at  the  docks  in  London  depends 
upon  the  destination  of  the  meat.      There  are  three  general 
courses   open  :    warehousing  at  the  dock  stores,  despatch  by 
rail  to  the  country,  and  barging  along  the  river  to  the  "  up- 
town "  stores.     Taking  the  Tilbury  Docks  first,  farthest  down 
the  river,  if  meat  is  to  go  into  the  dock  stores  at  Victoria  Docks 
it  is  barged  up.     If  intended  for  the  country  it  is  forwarded  by 
railway,    or   if   for   the   up-town,  riverside  stores,  barging  is 
resorted  to.     If  the  meat  is  for  the  dock  stores  at  West  Smith- 
field,  the  railway  and  also  insulated  vans  are  employed.     At 
the  Victoria  and  Royal   Albert  Docks  the  same  procedure  is 
followed,  except  that  meat  intended  for  the  dock  stores  at 
these  two  docks  is  transferred  there  direct,  either  by  railway 
or  hand  truck,  according  to  the  distance  from  the  ship's  berth, 
and  that  intended  for  the  dock  stores  at  West  Smithfield  is 
forwarded  in  insulated  vans.    The  handling  of  meat  at  the  West 
India  Dock  is  practically  the  same,  meat  for  the  dock  stores 
at  Victoria  Dock  being  conveyed  thither  by  insulated  vans. 
The  railing,  vanning,  and  trucking  involve  the  landing  of  the 
meat  on  the  quay  alongside  which  the  vessel  lies,  and  meat  for 
barges  is  usually  delivered  from  the  other,  or  water,  side  of 
the  vessel,  alongside  which  the  barges  lie.     The  railway  wagons 
run  alongside  the  quay,  and  the  dock  stores  have  connection 
with  the  Great  Eastern,  Midland,  London  and  North  Western, 
and  Great  Northern  lines.     Meat  by  steamers   in  the  Tilbury 
Dock  intended  for  forwarding  by  railway  to  London  is  dis- 
patched  at  frequent  intervals,  and  trucks   for  the    country 
(insulated  and  iced  in  the  summer),  having  received  the  full 
consignments,   or    such    portions   as   are   available,  are   sent 
away  to  their  destinations.     Transit  is  fairly  rapid  ;   a  line  of 


THE    STOCKRAISERS*    MARKET  115 

meat  loaded  direct  from  the  vessel  on  to  the  railway  can  be 
delivered  at  Manchester  or  Cardiff  within  twelve  hours. 

Conveying  to  Store. 

A  very  large  quantity  of  the  Australian,  New  Zealand,  and 
South  American  meat  is  taken  in  barges  to  the  Lambeth 
stores  of  the  Colonial  Consignment  and  Distributing  Co., 
Ltd.,  the  various  stores  of  the  Union  Cold  Storage  Co., 
the  Blackfriars  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  the  Thames  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  etc.  The  barges  are  brought  up  the  river  on  the 
next  tide  after  the  day's  work  is  finished.  The  great  aim 
of  the  lighterman  is  to  get  a  full  load,  so  as  to  ensure  the  meat 
travelling  in  the  best  condition.  Considerable  delay  takes 
place  at  times  in  the  conveyance  of  meat  by  this  method, 
particularly  in  foggy  weather,  and  advocates  of  storing  at  the 
docks  suggest  that  the  barging  system  is  far  from  an  ideal 
method  of  conveying  frozen  meat.  But  some  of  the  meat  that 
goes  into  the  dock  stores  is  moved  in  this  way,  as  mentioned 
above.  The  secretary  of  the  Colonial  Consignment  and 
Distributing  Co.,  Ltd.,  states  that  his  company's  barges  are 
"  carefully  insulated  with  hair  felt,  and  with  full  cargoes  it  is 
an  unknown  thing  for  damage  to  occur  in  transit."  All  the 
barges  conveying  meat  from  ship's  side  to  up-town  stores 
are  insulated  and  are  passed  by  Lloyd's  inspectors.  Formerly, 
however,  this  was  not  the  case,  and  much  damage  occurred  to 
meat  in  transit  in  hot  weather  through  the  imperfect  conditions 
which  ruled.  All  the  London  public  cold  stores  are  on  the 
Thames,  excepting  those  of  the  London  Central  Markets  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  which  are  under  and  adjoining  Smithfield,  the 
West  Smithfield  cold  store  of  the  Port  of  London  Authority, 
and  one  or  two  others  indicated  in  the  London  cold  storage 
map,  Appendix  VI.  Meat  for  the  first-named  store  is  barged 
to  that  company's  depot  at  Poplar  and  carried  thence  by 
insulated  motor  vans. 

Having  warehoused  his  mutton,  lamb,  or  beef  at  one  of  the 
London  cold  stores,  the  owner  arranges  further  steps  in  his 
campaign  according  to  his  business  and  the  state  of  the  market. 
His  one  great  aim  is  to  clear  the  meat  within  four  weeks,  so  aa 

i2 


116      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

to  save  the  second  month's  "  management  rate  "  charge.  The 
object  of  the  merchant  is  to  deliver  to  the  market  only  such 
quantity  as  he  may  expect  to  dispose  of  every  day,  but  if  meat  is 
left  over  unsold  at  the  close  of  business  at  Smithfield  it  is 
seldom  taken  back  to  store,  as  it  will  remain  in  sufficiently 
good  condition  on  the  hooks  for  the  next  day's  business. 
Occasionally,  however,  meat  unsold  is  taken  back  to  store, 
especially  in  the  case  of  the  cold  stores  handy  to  the  market. 
In  hot  weather,  naturally,  this  course  is  adopted  more  freely. 
Those  tenants  who  rent  storage  space  under  their  stalls  from 
the  London  Central  Markets  Stores,  which  space  communicates 
with  the  premises  above,  generally  pop  their  left-over  stuff 
down  into  their  cold  rooms. 

In  putting  forward  these  details  concerning  an  exceedingly 
technical  section  of  this  subject,  the  authors  desire  to  mention 
that  the  business  systems  of  the  various  firms  of  merchants, 
importers,  and  salesmen,  are  not  all  framed  on  the  same  lines. 
All  that  must  be  expected  of  this  chapter  is  a  more  or  less 
rough  and,  it  is  feared,  incomplete  outline  of  the  methods 
under  which  the  Australasian  and  South  American  producers 
get  their  stock  to  the  market. 


CHAPTER  VIII 

THE   FUNCTIONS  OF   THE   MEAT  INSPECTOR 

IN  this  chapter  is  given  information  concerning  the  general 
principles  and  methods  which  govern  the  official  examination 
of  frozen  and  chilled  meat  in  the  exporting  countries,  and 
details  are  added  referring  to  the  practice  of  British  Medical 
Officers  of  Health  in  dealing  with  this  meat  on  its  arrival  at 
the  ports  of  Great  Britain.  Reference  is  also  made  to  the 
totally  inadequate  measures  taken  to  protect  the  British 
public  from  the  consumption  of  diseased  meat,  bred  and 
slaughtered  in  the  United  Kingdom.  The  more  one  regards 
the  meat  inspection  systems  in  vogue  in  different  countries, 
so  widely  differing  in  principle  and  detail,  the  more  necessary 
does  it  appear  to  work  for  an  international  standard  of  meat 
inspection,  respecting  which  proposal  it  is  still  hoped  there  will 
be  a  conference  in  Paris  in  1912,  or  at  some  early  date. 

New  Zealand. 

New  Zealand  has  an  excellent  official  system  of  inspec- 
tion, which  is  rigidly  applied  to  exported  frozen  meat.  The 
Dominion  spends  a  very  considerable  sum  annually  in  paying  the 
salaries  of  a  staff  of  specially  qualified  inspectors,  twenty-four 
of  whom  write  M.R.C.V.S.  after  their  names.  Official  inspection 
in  New  Zealand  is  carried  on  under  the  General  Meat  Inspection 
Act  of  1900.  The  inspectors  have  by  this  Act  full  control  over 
the  sanitary  and  general  conditions  of  the  freezing  works  of  the 
Dominion  of  New  Zealand.  The  Government  of  New  Zealand 
has,  from  early  days  in  the  industry,  applied  itself  consistently 
to  the  question  of  having  veterinary  examination  made  of 
meat  intended  for  the  export  trade.  Concerning  this, 


118      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Sir  Joseph  Ward,  as  Prime  Minister,  made  himself  responsible 
for  the  following  statement : — 

All  meat  as  exported  from  New  Zealand  is  absolutely  guaranteed  by  the 
Government  to  be  healthy,  wholesome,  and  thoroughly  fit  for  human  food. 

Australia. 

As  to  Australia,  the  inspection  and  supervision  of  meat  for 
export  is  undertaken  by  the  Federal  Government.  Prior  to 
February  1,  1911,  the  various  States  were  working  on  indi- 
vidual lines,  and  though  the  regulations  in  force  in  the  States 
were  most  thorough,  the  want  of  uniformity  led  to  some 
confusion.  But  at  the  date  mentioned,  the  Federal  Govern- 
ment assumed  control  of  Australian  meat  inspection,  and  now 
all  meat  exported  from  the  Commonwealth  is  inspected  on  a 
uniform  basis  under  the  Commerce  (Trade  Descriptions)  Act, 
1905,  and  the  Customs  Act,  1910,  prior  to  export,  and  meat 
found  to  be  in  every  way  satisfactory  is  marked  "  approved 
for  export."  Second  grade  meat  is  marked  as  "  passed 
for  export,"  while  emaciated  and  diseased  meat  is,  of  course, 
refused  any  permit  for  export.  Here  attention  may  be  drawn 
to  the  fine  distinction  between  "approved"  and  "passed" 
in  the  Commonwealth  inspection  regulations.  Whilst  New 
Zealand  and  Argentina,  in  common  with  usual  practice, 
each  have  one  standard  of  fitness,  Australia  has  two.  A  large 
staff  of  veterinary  surgeons  is  stationed  at  the  abattoirs  and 
meat  works  throughout  the  Commonwealth,  and  the  regulations 
under  which  they  work  are  drastic.  The  examination  is  ante- 
and  post-mortem.  The  central  point  of  the  Commonwealth 
regulations  is  that  the  exportation  of  any  meat  is  prohibited 
unless  it  has  been  certified  by  an  inspector  under  the 
Commerce  Act  to  be  fit  for  export.  Under  the  Commerce  Act 
there  is  prohibition  of  the  export  of  carcass  meat  in  a 
diseased  state,  and  "  disease  "  includes  any  defect,  inferiority, 
or  abnormal  condition  in  the  meat  which  renders  it  unsightly 
or  unfit  for  human  food. 

Australia  can  afford  to  go  still  farther  than  European 
countries  in  the  raising  of  her  standard.  Her  proportion  of 


QUEENSLAND 

(AUSTRALIA) 

THIS  MEAT  hit  been  examined  by  me.  and  by  ante-mortem 
and  posl-mortem  veterinary  Inspection  Is  found  to  be  tree 
from  disease  and  suitable  in  every  way  lor  btuoaa  cooftuaption. 


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To  fac*  p.   118. 


THE    FUNCTIONS    OF   THE    MEAT    I\HT.(T<)K     11!) 

stock  diseases  is  wonderfully  small,  and  as  boiling  down  is 
iblo  for  rejects,  the  Australian  freezing  works  have  in  tin- 
case  of  animals  not  up  to  freezing  mark  a  second  string  to  their 
bow  which  the  British  farmer  and  butcher  lack.  No  meat  can 
be  exported  from  Australia  unless  it  has  passed  the  veterinary 's 
health  testa. 


Argentina. 

The  measures  taken  by  the  Government  of  Argentina  to 
ensure  that  frozen  and  chilled  meat  exported  shall  be  in  all 
respects  sound,  free  from  disease,  and  of  first  class  quality,  are 
most  thorough.  Before  stock  can  be  moved  in  the  Republic, 
official  permission  has  to  be  obtained.  Attached  to  every 
frigorifico  is  a  Government  inspector  who  has  an  office  in  the 
works.  He  has  to  look  into  all  the  processes,  inspects  the  stock 
before  killing,  and  the  meat  before  export,  and  has  the  right  to 
reject  anything  of  inferior  quality.  The  following  statement 
l>y  the  manager  of  one  of  the  Argentine  works  shows  how 
thorough  is  the  inspection : — "  Two  or  more  Government 
inspectors  are  billeted  at  each  works  ;  they  are  there  all  their 
time,  scrutinize  everything,  examine  live  stock,  slaughterings, 
the  meat,  walking  about  the  whole  time,  condemning  anything 
and  everything  they  are  not  absolutely  satisfied  with,  and 
nothing  leaves  the  works  without  the  Government  inspectors' 
n-rtification."  The  vessels  carrying  the  frozen  meat  from 
Argentine  ports  are  under  Government  supervision  as  to 
cleanliness,  disinfection,  and  hygiene.  Of  late,  as  a  comple- 
ment to  this  careful  system  of  inspection,  the  Government  of 
the  Republic  have  enacted  that  a  brand  in  aniline  dye,  which 
has  the  force  of  a  Government  certificate  of  soundness,  shall  be 
placed  upon  all  frozen  meat  exported  to  Great  Britain.  The 
Act  under  which  the  official  supervision  is  undertaken  is  the 
Animals  Sanitary  Law,  No.  4155. 

The  certificated  labels  that  are  attached  to  meat  exported 

from  the  three  countries  whose  official  inspection  systems  are 

above  explained  are  reproduced   herewith.     They  are   very 

il    and   necessary    documents;   but,   after   all,    speaking 


120      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

of  Great  Britain's  importation  of  frozen  and  chilled  meat,  the 
Local  Government  Board's  inspector  is  the  real  tribunal. 

Inspection  of  Meat  Killed  in  the  United  Kingdom, 

Several  references  have  been  made  in  this  book  to  the 
inefficient  methods  of  inspecting  home-killed  meat  in  the 
United  Kingdom.  Under  regulations  officially  observed,  there 
is  a  competent  veterinary  staff  employed  at  British  ports 
to  see  to  it  that  no  diseased  or  unsound  meat  from  overseas 
is  landed  for  consumption.  One  would  think  that  an 
equally  satisfactory  examination  of  stock  slaughtered  through- 
out the  United  Kingdom  would  be  made.  But  what  do 
we  find  ?  Dr.  Collingridge,  Medical  Officer  of  Health  for 
the  City  of  London,  in  his  report  dated  April  25,  1911,  made 
the  following  observation  when  referring  to  the  Australian 
official  inspection  clauses  : — "  It  is  unfortunate  that  while 
such  regulations  are  made  and  enforced  abroad,  there  are  no 
provisions  for  the  compulsory  inspection  of  meat  at  the  time  of 
slaughter  in  this  country." 

A  flood  of  light  is  thrown  upon  this  subject  by  Mr.  W.  G. 
Barnes,  Chief  Veterinary  Inspector  and  Superintendent  of 
Abattoirs,  Islington  Cattle  Market,  in  his  paper  read  before  the 
Royal  Sanitary  Institute  Congress  at  Belfast  on  July  28,  1911, 
"  Meat  Branding  and  Uniformity  of  Inspection."  In  many  of 
the  rural  districts,  meat  inspection,  Mr.  Barnes  stated,  "  is  a 
theory  instead  of  a  practice."  The  following  quotations  from 
the  paper  are  startling  indeed  : — 

"  The  Britisher  is  daily  eating  the  flesh  of  diseased  animals, 
and  is  unaware  of  it.  He  takes  it  for  granted  that  the  law  of 
the  country  provides  for  the  inspection  of  all  butcher  meat 
intended  for  his  food,  and  consequently  he  does  not  deem  it 
necessary  to  make  further  investigation  into  the  matter,  but 
is  content  to  remain  in  ignorance  of  the  fact  that  more  than 
half  of  the  meat  consumed  in  this  country  is  never  seen  by  an 
inspector,  and  that  in  many  parts  of  the  country  the  system  of 
meat  inspection  is  scandalous.  As  illustrative  of  this,  it  is 
known  that  carcass  butchers  from  towns  some  distance  from 


TIM-:  ir.\(Ti<>N>  or  TIM.  MEAT  INSPECTOR  121 

London  con  afford  to  pay  from  30  shillings  to  £2  more  per  head 
for  a  doubtful  class  of  cattle,  pay  carriage  to  one  of  these  places 
where  there  is  little  or  no  inspection,  outside  London,  and  then 
send  the  carcass  to  London  for  sale  for  human  consumption  ; 
or,  if  it  is  too  risky  for  sale  in  London,  sell  it  locally.  .  .  .  Only 
a  short  time  ago,  in  conversation  with  a  butcher  who  has  a 
large  trade  in  a  town  not  far  from  London,  I  was  informed  that 
no  inspector  ever  visited  his  premises  for  the  purpose  of 
examining  the  meat.  It  was  only  visited  three  or  at  most  four 
times  a  year  by  the  inspector  of  nuisances,  and  that  was  with 
regard  to  its  sanitary  condition.  ...  A  pure  meat  supply  can 
only  be  secured  by  a  universal  compulsory  abattoir  system  and 
general  inspection  of  all  animals  intended  for  human  food,  also 
branding  and  marking  of  all  meat.  This  system  would  afford 
the  highest  degree  of  protection  to  the  consumer  and  would 
probably  be  the  indirect  means  of  causing  a  great  lessening  in 
disease.'* 

Do  not  such  facts  as  these  concerning  the  supplies  of  home- 
killed  meat  to  British  consumers  throw  into  strong  relief  the 
scientific  veterinary  inspection  of  chilled  and  frozen  meat  in 
Australasia  and  South  America,  as  detailed  in  the  early  part 
of  this  chapter,  and  can  there  be  a  more  forcible  point  to  urge 
in  support  of  the  case  for  frozen  meat  ? 


An  International  Standard  of  Inspection. 

Meat  is  not  an  interchangeable  article  of  commerce,  but  is 
subject  to  strict  rules  of  inspection  in  most  countries  before  it 
can  obtain  entry.  These  conditions  formed  no  hardship  so  long 
as  trade  was  carried  on  only  in  fresh  meat  from  the  adjacent 
countries.  The  immense  development  of  the  refrigerated 
meat  trade  and  its  conditions  of  handling  render  these 
conditions  antiquated  and  unworkable.  There  are  no  insur- 
mountable difficulties  to  be  overcome  in  placing  refrigerated 
meat  in  the  same  category  as  the  articles  of  commerce 
which  may  be  consigned  to  any  country.  In  exporting  coun- 
tries where  refrigeration  of  meat  is  properly  carried  on,  it  is 


122      A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

killed  under  Government  veterinary  inspection.  Inspection 
to  be  thorough  and  complete  has  to  be  ante-  and  post-mortem, 
and  can  only  be  done  at  the  time  of  slaughter.  Refrigerated 
meat  has  to  be  stripped  of  all  internal  organs  before  freezing 
and  shipping.  It  therefore  follows  that  the  inspection,  how- 
ever rigid,  can  only  be  guaranteed  by  an  assurance  and  cer- 
tificate that  the  animals  were  healthy  and  the  meat  wholesome. 
A  certificate  and  guarantee  to  be  valid  must  be  given  by  a 
Government  authority,  and  must  represent  conditions  well  and 
clearly  understood.  A  complete  harmony  exists  among  all 
the  training  institutions  for  veterinary  science  of  all  countries 
as  to  principle  and  methods.  Veterinary  inspection  is  on  a 
strictly  scientific  basis,  and  there  are  an  international  standard 
and  regulations  common  to  all  lands  where  the  inspection 
of  meat  is  considered  of  vital  importance. 

To  free  refrigerated  meat  from  present  trade  disabilities  in 
European  States,  all  that  is  required  is  that  the  standard 
which  already  exists  should  be  recognized  as  international. 
Further,  that  an  agreement  be  arrived  at  by  the  various  coun- 
tries that,  provided  an  exporting  country  will  guarantee  that 
all  the  conditions  of  inspection  are  being  complied  with,  the 
veterinary  certificate  of  such  country  shall  be  recognized  as 
complete.  Refrigerated  meat  would  then  be  available  for  all 
countries,  and  would  only  be  subject  to  local  inspection  as  to 
refrigerated  condition  and  soundness.  It  would  then  take  its 
place  along  with  other  articles  of  commerce — fresh  markets 
would  be  opened  up,  and  its  price  would  be  regulated  by  the 
world-wide  demand. 

Public  Health  Regulations. 

A  development  which  had  bearing  on  some  minor  section 
of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  and  made  necessary  certifi- 
cates of  examination  from  the  Governments  of  exporting 
countries,  was  the  passing  in  England  of  the  Public  Health 
(Regulations  as  to  Food)  Act,  on  August  28,  1907.  On 
September  12,  1908,  the  Local  Government  Board  issued  two 
sets  of  Regulations  : — 


nil.  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  MEAT  INSPECTOR      1«8 

(1)  "The  Public  Health  (First  Series  Unsound  Food)  Regu- 
>ns,  1908,"  and 

(2)  "The    Public    Health    (Foreign    Meat)    Regulations, 
1908." 

The  first  became  operative  on  October  1, 1908,  and  the  second 
on  January  1,  1909.  The  Regulations  are  now  in  full  working 
order,  and  have  strengthened  the  hands  of  the  sanitary 
authorities  at  the  various  ports.  These  Regulations  have  had 
v  considerable  influence  upon  the  department  of  the  frozen 
meat  trade  discussed  in  Appendix  II.,  for  they  were  put 
in  force  mainly  to  check  irregularities  in  American  meat 
oddments  and  to  enable  the  sanitary  authorities  in  Great 
Britain  to  have  an  effective  weapon  wherewith  to  fight 
tuberculosis  in  pig  carcasses  and  boxed  pork. 

Before  the  issue  of  the  Regulations  inspection  of  meat 
imported  into  Great  Britain  had  been  casual  and  unmethodical. 
The  port  sanitary  authorities  and  the  medical  officers  of  health, 
as  well  as  the  Board  of  Trade  expert  officers,  found  difficulty  in 
dealing  with  certain  classes  of  imported  frozen  meat,  and  it  was 
considered  desirable  to  give  the  inspectors  further  powers.  For 
instance,  boneless  beef,  arriving  in  boxes  with  the  pieces  of 
meat  frozen  into  a  solid  mass,  was  impossible  of  identification 
and  examination  by  the  inspectors  as  to  the  separate  pieces. 
This  boned  beef  trade  from  New  Zealand  had  grown  to  con- 
M<!I -ruble  proportions  ;  it  was  a  profitable  means  of  disposing 
of  old  cows,  and  the  form  in  which  the  meat  arrived  and  its 
cheapness  allowed  it  to  be  used  for  mincing  and  other  purposes. 
As  the  conditions  under  which  this  boneless  beef  was  prepared 
and  shipped  were  inconsistent  with  the  requirements  of  British 
inspectors,  acting  under  the  Public  Health  Regulations  of 
1907,  viz.,  that  frozen  meat  must  arrive  in  separate  pieces,  the 
trade  was  suspended  for  several  years.  But  of  late  the 
inspectors  have  modified  the  severity  of  their  views,  and  boned 
beef,  frozen  in  separate  pieces,  is  imported  to  a  small  extent, 
mainly  at  the  port  of  Glasgow.  It  is  held  in  many  quarters 
that  had  the  export  of  boneless  beef  been  stopped  altogether  it 
\\  <  >uld  not  have  been  a  matter  for  much  regret,  for,  even  allowing 
that  this  low-grade  meat  was  a  valuable  adjunct  to  New 


124-       A  HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Zealand's  carcass  and  quarter  trade,  it  adds  no  lustre  to  the 
Dominion's  export  of  produce. 

The  Regulations  referred  to,  in  full  working  order,  no  doubt, 
render  more  precise  and  (in  some  instances)  equitable  the 
methods  of  the  sanitary  authorities  with  regard  to  any  meat 
seized  for  unsoundness.  Merchants  and  importers  of  frozen 
meats,  at  the  time  when  the  Regulations  were  being  framed, 
took  the  opportunity  to  press  upon  the  Local  Government 
Board  their  view  that  identical  instructions  should  be  sent  to 
inspectors  throughout  the  country,  regarding  the  general 
question  of  inspection  of  imported  meats,  and  that  the  owners  of 
meat  seized  by  the  inspectors  should  be  supplied  with  data, 
such  as  the  name  of  the  vessel,  the  brand,  etc.  But  this 
reasonable  suggestion  has  not  been  adopted.  The  officials 
at  different  ports  in  England  have  varying  methods  of  seizing 
meat  and  of  treating  meat  so  seized ;  it  is  a  confusing  and 
unfair  state  of  things  to  traders  that  different  "  standards  " 
and  different  practices  should  exist  in  the  ports  and  wholesale 
markets  of  Great  Britain  as  regards  meat  inspection. 

The  Regulations  make  three  classifications,  the  first  of 
which  applies  to  "  scrap "  meat,  and  the  other  two  to 
pigs  and  parts  of  pigs.  An  important  reference  is  to  the 
"  official  certificate  "  which  the  Regulations  required.  This  is 
defined  as  a  certificate,  label,  mark,  stamp,  or  other  voucher, 
declaring  that  the  cattle  or  pig  from  which  the  meat  is  derived 
has  been  certified  by  a  competent  authority  in  the  place  of 
origin  to  be  free  from  disease  at  the  time  of  slaughter,  and  that 
the  meat  has  been  certified  by  the  like  authority  to  have  been 
dressed  or  prepared,  and  packed,  with  the  needful  observance 
of  all  requirements  for  the  prevention  of  danger  arising  to  public 
health  from  the  meat  as  an  article  of  food.  On  the  authors' 
application  in  September,  1911,  for  information  about  these 
certificates,  which  are  obviously  required  in  the  interests  of 
shippers  from  various  countries,  Dr.  G.  S.  Buchanan,  Medical 
Inspector  to  the  Local  Government  Board,  supplied  copies  of 
accepted  official  certificates,  as  follow  : — Denmark,  the  Nether- 
lands, Canada,  New  Zealand,  Belgium,  and  the  Commonwealth 
of  Australia ;  Dr.  Buchanan  wrote  that  the  list  of  accepted 


THE    FUNCTIONS    OF   THE    MEAT    INSPECTOR    1*5 

certificates  did  not  include  any  from  the  United  States  or 
South  America.  These  Regulations  have  been  dealt  with 
above  very  fully,  because  they  appear  to  be  the  only  example 
of  official  enactment  in  Great  Britain  concerning  meat  inspec- 
tion drafted  on  thoroughly  scientific  and  uniform  lines  of 
procedure. 


CHAPTER  IX 

THE  SHIPOWNERS'  BURDEN 

THE  importance  of  the  part  that  the  shipowner  plays  in  the 
frozen  meat  trade  of  to-day  is  universally  recognized,  and  most 
of  the  pages  of  this  book  bear  evidence  of  the  great  stake  he 
has  in  the  industry.  It  was  the  shipowner  who  was  always 
ready  in  the  pioneering  and  experimental  days  of  the  eighties 
to  risk  his  capital  in  meeting  shippers'  and  merchants'  wishes, 
and  to-day  he  is  constantly  called  upon  to  extend  the  facilities 
he  offers  for  refrigerated  overseas  traffic.  The  freezing  works 
and  the  "refrigerated  fleet"  are  the  two  great  agencies  engaged 
in  the  preparation  and  transportation  of  the  farmers'  meat 
to  the  markets  of  the  Old  World,  and  skill,  capital,  and 
organizing  power,  both  in  freezing  and  transport,  have  all 
along  been  required  to  ensure  that  the  Australasian  and  South 
American  sheep,  driven  to  the  freezing  works  and  landed  on 
the  London  Docks  as  frozen  meat,  have  suffered  the  minimum 
of  depreciation  in  quality  and  condition. 

Given  the  necessary  information  from  behind  the  scenes, 
what  a  book  could  be  written  on  the  beginnings  and  develop- 
ment of  the  refrigerated  produce  trade,  from  the  shipowners' 
point  of  view  !  If  the  walls  of  board  rooms  had  ears,  and 
shipping  clubs'  discussions  were  recorded  for  the  benefit  of  the 
trade  historian,  it  would  be  possible  to  write  a  useful  and 
entertaining  narrative.  The  personalities  of  the  owners  and 
managers  of  the  great  shipping  lines  that 

Give  the  Pole  the  Produce  of  the  Sun, 
And  knit  th'  unsocial  climates  into  one, 

are  in  many  cases  distinctly[striking ;  many  of  us  remember  the 
graphic,  good-natured  articles  that  Mr.  Hope  Robinson  used 
to  write  on  them  in  the  pages  of  Fairplay.  What  a  tale  could 
be  told,  for  instance,  of  the  men  who  built  up  the  "  Austral- 


I 


I 

•: 
! 

7- 


HI!     MIIPOWNERS*  BURDEN  187 

Shipping  Conference  "  and  their  work  ;  will  that  chapter 
ever  be  given  to  the  world  from  the  precincts  of  Leadenhall 
Street  ?  The  man  at  the  head  of  a  shipping  line  must,  to  be 
successful,  have  great  business  gifts  as  well  as  force  of  character. 
He  must  be  resourceful  to  the  last  degree,  incredibly  audacious, 
when  necessary,  in  making  contracts  and  adjusting  business 
with  clients ;  all  the  commercial  facts  from  pole  to  pole  he 
masters  concerning  production  and  transport  of  merchandize, 
and  at  a  pinch,  as  the  frozen  meat  trade  shows,  turns  himself 
into  a  merchant  filling  the  holds  of  his  own  steamers.  The 
part  the  British  shipowners — of  refrigerated  and  other  vessels 
—played  in  the  South  African  War  stands  out  brilliantly 
amongst  many  failures  in  other  directions.  Incidentally,  they 
made  heaps  of  money  ! 

"  What  Frozen  Meat  has  done  for  the  Shipowner  "  might 
well  form  a  sequel  to  "  The  Shipowners'  Burden."  The  1910 
figures  showed  214  vessels  engaged  in  the  conveyance  of  the 
South  American  and  Australasian  frozen  meat ;  the  carrying 
capacity  of  these  vessels  was  14,225,500  carcasses  of  sheep. 
Of  these  steamers  43  had  a  carrying  capacity  exceeding 
100,000  carcasses  each.  As  the  total  import  of  frozen  meat 
for  1910  was  the  equivalent  of  18,056,844  carcasses,  it  seems 
that,  assuming  that  each  ship  of  the  "  refrigerated  fleet  "  came 
home  fully  loaded,  the  portion  of  frozen  meat  allotted  to  each 
vessel  to  carry  during  the  year  was  the  equivalent  of  about 
84,380  carcasses.  During  1911  the  "refrigerated  fleet"  was 
much  augmented,  and  the  insulated  space  of  the  vessels  on 
the  Australasian  and  South  American  lines  was  at  the  end 
of  that  year  equal  to  44,000,000  cubic  feet  (see  Appendix  VIII.), 
say,  16,000,000  carcasses. 

Then  there  is  the  great  trade  in  butter,  cheese,  fruit,  and 
rabbits  from  Australia  and  New  Zealand  to  consider.  What 
a  welcome  addition  to  the  freight  refrigerated  produce  must 
have  been,  and  what  potent  influence  it  must  have  had  on 
the  expansion  of  the  great  fleets,  as  well  as  upon  the  construc- 
tion of  the  vessels  !  In  1888  there  were  57  vessels  in  the  trade 
with  a  total  carrying  capacity  of  955,000  carcasses  ;  by  1891 
there  were  87;  in  1894,  100;  in  1895,  108;  and  in  1898,  131. 


128     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

The  carrying  capacities  in  those  years  were,  respectively, 
2,267,000,  3,367,000,  3,816,000,  and  5,460,800  carcasses. 

It  would  have  been  interesting  to  discover  that  there  were 
one  or  two  master  minds  applying  themselves  with  a  prophet's 
foresight  to  the  task  of  adapting  their  ships  to  the  new  trade  ; 
men  who,  with  the  genius  of  perspicacity,  fully  grasped  the 
situation  with  all  its  possibilities.  One  cannot  discover  any 
such  figures,  and  the  progress  of  the  refrigerated  carrying 
trade  seems  to  have  been  a  natural  evolution.  Improvements 
in  refrigerating  machinery,  insulating  materials,  and  appliances 
or  stowage  and  handling,  have  come  along  as  the  need  suggested. 

The  shipowners'  attitude  in  the  early  eighties  was  this : — 
They  said  "  we  are  the  servants  of  the  public,  and  if  there  is 
meat  to  carry  we  must  carry  it."  In  this  way  they  have 
adapted  themselves  to  the  different  departments  of  the 
refrigerated  business,  science  revealing  the  particular  condi- 
tions requisite  for  the  safe  carriage  of  each  separate  kind  of 
refrigerated  produce.  A  great  deal  of  capital  is  invested  in 
the  "  refrigerated  fleet  "  ;  roughly,  it  takes  £20,000  merely  to 
fit  a  New  Zealand  liner  with  refrigerating  machinery  and 
insulate  her  holds,  and  to  this  has  to  be  added  the  cost  of 
upkeep,  and  the  loss  from  the  permanent  reduction  in  dead 
weight  and  cubic  carrying  capacities.  Regarding  the  weight  of 
cargo  carried,  a  vessel  which,  without  refrigerating  machinery, 
could  carry,  say,  4,000  tons,  could  with  it  only  take  3,000  tons 
of  ordinary  cargo. 

The  Australian  Lines. 

The  Australian  shipping  lines  were  not  backward  in  taking 
up  refrigerated  produce,  and  the  companies  running  regular 
services  perceived  quite  early  the  possibilities  of  the  new  trade 
and  what  it  meant  to  the  shipowner.  The  prospectus  of  the 
Orient  Steam  Navigation  Company,  Limited,  dated  21  May, 
1880,  contained  this  paragraph :  "  The  export  of  fresh  frozen 
meat  is  likely  to  yield  an  important  addition  to  the  company's 
earnings.  A  number  of  applications  for  space  have  already 
been  received,  and  the  necessary  refrigeration  machines  are 
about  to  be  fitted  in  the  steamers."  The  first  steamers  fitted 


Tin:  >iim>\YM.u>'  itniDEN 

wen  the  s.s.  Cuzco,  Orient,  and  Garonne,  in  1881.  On  p.  34 
mrnM«n  is  made  of  tho  pioneering  part  taken  by  the  Orient 
line  vessels  in  fitting  up  their  steamers  for  the  carriage  of 
frozen  moat,  and  note  should  be  taken  of  the  fact  that  this 
company,  in  in-tailing  Haslum  machinery  on  its  ships  in  1880, 
was  tho  first  shipping  lino  in  the  world  to  go  into  tho 
refrigerated  meat  trade  on  a  regular  basis.  The  Peninsular 
and  Oriental  Company  entered  the  trade  in  1887,  and  their 
first  vessel  to  carry  meat  was  the  s.s.  Victoria.  The  s.s.  Hornby 
Orange  was  Messrs.  Moulder's  first  refrigerated  vessel  to  enter, 
in  1890,  the  Australian  trade.  The  Aberdeen  Lone  took  up 
frozen  meat  freight  in  1892,  and  the  s.s.  Australasian  was  the 
lir-t  steamer  to  be  fitted.  The  first  Federal  Line  steamer 
to  carry  meat  was  the  s.s.  Maori  King  in  1893.  The  White 
Star  vessels  entered  the  Australian  trade  in  1899,  the  s.s.  Medic 
being  the  first  steamer  to  bring  meat  for  the  company  from 
Australian  ports. 

The  late  Mr.  William  Haviside  Tyser,  the  founder  of  the 
Tyser  Line,  entered  the  refrigerated  shipping  trade  in  1886 — 
1887  (see  p.  67).  The  first  ship  which  he  fitted  up  and  loaded 
was  the  Balmoral  Castle,  next  coming  the  Ashleigh  Brook,  and 
-  following.  The  Balmoral  Castle,  by  the  way,  was  the  first 
vessel  to  sail  to  Australia  in  ballast,  a  practice  subsequently 
extensively  followed. 


The  New  Zealand  Services. 

In  1881  the  Government  of  New  Zealand  offered  a  subsidy 
JO.OOO  a  year  for  the  establishment  of  a  service  of  refrige- 
rated fifty-day  boats,  but  the  inducement  was  too  slight  to 
attract  shipowners.  The  honour  of  opening  the  frozen  meat 
trade,  whicji  has  been  of  such  enormous  value  to  the  Dominion, 
belongs  to  the  Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion  Co.  Full  particulars 
appear  at  pp.  40  to  44  of  the  enterprise  of  the  New  Zealand 
and  Australian  Land  Co.,  and  the  successful  co-operation  of  tho 
shipping  company  as  regards  tho  voyage  of  the  sailer  Dunedin. 
Xew  Zealand  Shipping  Co.  (which  had  been  founded  by 
New  Zealand  merchants  at  Christchurch  in  1873)  despatched 

I 


130     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  second  vessel  with  frozen  meat  to  London,  this  shipment 
being  the  company's  own  venture.  In  1882  the  company 
fitted  the  sailing  ship  Mataura  with  Haslam's  cold  air  refrige- 
rating machinery  at  a  cost  of  several  thousand  pounds.  On  the 
first  voyage  outwards  quantities  of  fish,  poultry,  and  game  were 
carried  from  London.  These  goods  were  delivered  in  New 
Zealand  in  excellent  order  and  a  return  cargo  of  frozen  beef 
and  mutton,  at  a  freight  of  2%d.  per  lb.,  was  landed  in  London 
in  perfect  condition.  This  cargo  had  to  be  frozen  on  board. 
Captain  Greenstreet,  now  the  skipper  of  the  s.s.  Remuera,  was  in 
charge.  The  first  steamer  fitted  up  for  refrigerated  cargoes 
by  the  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.  was  the  Fenstanton,  belonging 
to  Watts,  Milburn  and  Co.  ;  it  was  a  tramp  steamer  taken 
up  on  time  charter.  In  January,  1883,  the  company  despatched 
the  first  steamer  of  its  regular  service  from  London,  the  British 
King,  3,356  tons,  fitted  with  Haslam's  machinery  sufficient 
to  carry  8,000  carcasses  of  sheep.  The  British  Queen,  a  sister 
ship,  followed  in  March,  1883,  and  the  White  Star  steamers 
Ionic  and  Doric,  vessels  of  4,750  tons,  were  also  chartered 
so  as  to  keep  up  the  monthly  service  until  the  company  could 
put  on  steamers  of  their  own.  A  fifth  steamer  being  needed, 
the  Cunard  liner  Catalonia  was  taken  up  in  1883  for  one 
voyage,  and  even  for  that  one  voyage  it  was  fitted  up  with 
complete  refrigerating  machinery. 

In  the  same  year  the  company  inaugurated  a  direct 
steamer  service,  building  five  15-knot  steamers  of  about  4,500 
tons  register  each,  viz.,  the  Tongariro  (August,  1883),  Aorangi 
(October,  1883),  Ruapehu  (November,  1883),  Kaikoura  (Sep- 
tember, 1884),  and  Rimutaka  (October,  1884),  all  fitted  with 
Haslam's  refrigerating  machines.  Three  of  the  company's 
sailing  ships  were  also  fitted  with  refrigerating  machinery  for 
the  carriage  of  frozen  meat,  etc.  After  the  New  Zealand 
Shipping  Co.  had  received  delivery  of  the  above-named  five 
steamers,  the  Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion  Co.  continued  to  employ 
the  Ionic  and  Doric  in  the  trade,  and  also  chartered  the  Coptic, 
besides  building  the  Arawa  and  Tainui,  so  that  the  two  lines, 
each  with  five  mail  and  passenger  steamers,  commenced  a 
regular  fortnightly  steam  service  between  London  and  New 


I 


THE  SHIPOWNERS'  BURDEN  131 

Zealand,  which  has  been  maintained  without  a  break  ever 
since.  At  the  present  time  all  the  foregoing  steamers  of  the 
New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.  have  been  replaced  by  new  vessels, 
bearing  the  same  names  but  of  about  double  the  size. 

Whilst  the  Shaw,  Savill  Co.'s  own  steam  fleet  was  in  prepara- 
tion in  1883 — 1884,  the  chartered  steamers  Triumph,  Bombay, 
Victory  and  Florida  were  fitted.  But  these  vessels  were  soon 
replaced  by  the  mail  steamers  Arawa,  Tainui,  Coptic,  Ionic 
and  Doric,  and  these  were  supplemented  in  1889 — 1890  by  the 
cargo  vessels  the  Mamari,  Maori,  Matatua,  Rangatira  and 
Pakeha.  The  original  Arawa,  Tainui,  Mamari,  Matatua, 
Rangatira  and  Pakeha  have  gone,  but  bigger  successors,  of  the 
same  names,  do  similar  work  to-day.  The  old  Arawa  was 
fitted  for  25,000  carcasses,  the  modern  Waimana,  built  in  1911, 
is  insulated  for  100,000. 

The  s.s.  Elderslie,  launched  in  1884,  was  the  first  of  a 
fine  fleet  of  steamers  owned  by  the  Shire  Line  and  Messrs. 
Turnbull,  Martin  and  Co.  To  Mr.  John  Reid,  of  Elderslie,  near 
Oamaru,  the  credit  of  this  enterprise  must  be  accorded,  and  he 
certainly  must  take  rank  as  a  pioneer  of  the  trade.  He  persuaded 
Messrs.  Turnbull,  Martin  and  Co.  to  build  this  and  other 
steamers,  and  was  always  in  the  front  supplying  sheep  freely 
from  his  fine  estate.  The  other  Shire  liners  followed  quickly, 
and  competed  with  the  steamers  of  the  New  Zealand  Shipping 
Co.  and  Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion  Co.  Freight  on  the  meat  for  the 
Elderslie  was  reduced  to  2Jrf.,  by  the  Fifeshire  to  2d.,  and  by 
the  next  Shire  Line  steamer  to  Ifrf.  Competition  and  the 
increased  tonnage  available  caused  further  reductions  in  the 
rates  steadily  onwards. 

Sailing:  Ships  as  Meat  Carriers. — It  is  noteworthy  that  the 
early  work  done  by  the  fleet  of  sailers  in  carrying  frozen  meat 
was  excellent,  and  these  craft  proved  quite  suited  to  the  trade 
in  the  early  days.  Certainly  the  90  to  110  days'  passage, 
instead  of  the  mail  steamers'  40,  from  New  Zealand,  was 
against  thorn,  but,  then,  the  c.i.f.  business  and  "  catching  the 
market "  were  rudimentary  points  in  the  eighties.  The 
sailers  did  their  refrigerating  remarkably  well,  and  the  early 
fleet  was  considerable.  Messrs.  Shaw,  Savill  and  Co.  (which 

K* 


132     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

combined  with  the  Albion  Co.,  to  form  the  Shaw,  Savill  and 
Albion  Co., incorporated  in  1 882)  had  the  Dunedin,  Lady  Jocelyn, 
Lyttelton,  Invercargill,  Oamaru,  Northumberland,  Wellington, 
Tirnaru,  Marlhorough,  and  Hinemoa.  These  ships  carried 
anything  from  10,000  to  15,000  carcasses,  and  were  fitted 
with  either  Bell-Coleman  or  Haslam  machines  freezing  on  the 
cold  air  blast  system.  Meat  cargoes  were  brought  home  in  these 
boats  with  commendable  success,  but  their  being  superseded 
by  steamers  was  hi  the  natural  course  of  evolution  which  has 
settled  the  fate  of  the  older  class  of  vessel  in  modern  trade. 
The  Shaw,  Savill  Co.  fitted  up  the  sailer  Edwin  Fox  as 
a  freezing  hulk,  and  sent  her  out  to  New  Zealand  in  1885. 
Subsequently  the  vessel  was  transferred  to  the  Christchurch 
Meat  Co.,  and  is  still  used  as  a  hulk  at  Picton  (see  illustration 
p.  60).  The  Timaru,  after  her  active  career  as  a  frozen 
meat  carrier  was  over,  was  used  as  a  freezing  store  on  the 
South  African  coast,  and  was  wrecked  in  1907.  The  Marl- 
borough  and  Dunedin  were  lost  in  1890.  Another  old  sailing 
ship,  formerly  employed  to  convey  frozen  meat  from  New 
Zealand,  is  now  the  property  of  the  Royal  Mail  Steam  Packet 
Co.,  and  is  stationed  in  the  River  Plate  as  a  hulk,  and  is 
called  the  Roihay.  Before  the  company  purchased  her  the 
vessel  was  called  the  Duleep  Singh,  and  was  sent  as  a  freezing 
hulk  to  Gibraltar  in  1890  by  Messrs.  Wills  and  Co. 

The  Evolution  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Carrier. 

The  evolution  of  the  frozen  meat  carrier  is  a  most  interest- 
ing point  to  refer  to.  From  the  10,000  carcasses  sailing  ship 
"  adapted  "  for  the  trade,  through  special  sailers,  like  the  Hinemoa 
there  is  the  development  to  adapted  steamers  like  the  British 
Princess,  Selembria,  the  early  Shire  boats,  etc.,  to  the  half-and- 
half  (refrigerated,  and/or  general  cargo)  steamers  largely  used  by 
the  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.,  and  the  Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion 
Co.,  to  the  very  highly  specialized  steamers  that  have  been 
built  recently  for  the  South  American  frozen  and  chilled  meat 
trade. 

Early  refrigerating  installations  on  board  ship  were,  no  doubt 
somewhat  crude,  and,  with  engineers  untrained  in  the  new 


Till-:   <HIPOWNERS*  BURDKN 

branch  of  tlioir  profession,  the  difficulties  met  with  must  have 
been  many.  Captain  Whitaon's  experiences  on  the  Duncdin, 
recorded  in  another  part  of  this  book,  are  an  instance.  But  the 
engineers  did  their  work  well,  as  the  meat  was  brought  in  sound 
condition  in  the  j^rcnt  majority  of  cases.  l"p  to  tin;  Ix-umnitin 
of  1884  only  nine  cargoes  had  been  delivered  in  "  unsatisfactory 
condition."  Some  of  the  damage  to  the  meat  was  done  in 
transit  between  the  works  and  the  ship,  and  there  was  the 
fault  of  insufficient  freezing  in  the  case  of  the  meat  brought  to 
London  by  the  Mataura  in  1883.  The  trade  circulars  of  the 
time  reported  as  follows :  "  Imperfectly  prepared  for  the 
voyage ;  about  4,000  carcasses  had  to  be  destroyed  on  arrival." 
By  those  who  remember  the  large  number  of  cargoes  which 
arrived  in  bad  condition  in  the  nineties,  the  contrast  of  the 
cleaner  record  of  the  shipments  made  in  the  previous  decade 
may  seem  remarkable.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  if  an  exact  com- 
parison of  percentages  of  unsound  arrivals  were  made  over  the 
two  periods,  it  would  probably  be  found  that  the  later  term  did 
not  show  a  larger  percentage  of  casualties  ;  the  volume  of  the 
trade  was  much  bigger  than  in  the  eighties,  consequently 
the  failures  loomed  larger.  However,  three  reasons  have  been 
assigned  for  the  trouble  which  became  so  apparent  in  the 
nineties.  By  those  well  qualified  to  judge,  the  cause  was  said 
to  be  partly  the  fitting  of  the  ships,  partly  the  refrigerating 
machinery,  and  partly — perhaps,  principally — the  indifferent 
preparation  and  handling  of  the  meat  just  prior  to  exporta- 
tion. With  the  old  sailers  freezing  was  done  on  board  at  the 
port  of  shipment,  but  in  the  case  of  the  steamers  the  meat 
was  frozen  ashore,  and  it  is  thought  that  insufficient  refrigera- 
tion of  the  carcasses  before  their  stowage  in  the  steamers'  holds 
was  often  responsible  for  their  bad  carriage.  The  reliable 
working  of  the  old  refrigerating  machinery  installed  in  the 
ships  on  the  cold  air  blast  system  in  the  earlier  days  of  the 
trade  is  a  bright  feature  of  the  industry,  and  some  of  the  old 
machines  continue  to  do  good  service  right  up  to  the  present 
time.  For  instance,  only  to  mention  four  Shaw,  Savill  boats  ; 
the  Waiwera  (capacity  80,000  carcasses),  Tokomaru  (85,000 
carcasses),  Kuinara  (75,000  carcasses),  and  Karamea  (75,000 


134     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

carcasses),  are  still  carrying  meat  cargoes  efficiently  frozen  by 
the  old  Haslam  cold  air  machine. 

Contrasting  the  early  days'  difficulties  with  the  smoothness 
which  characterizes  the  conditions  of  to-day,  Mr.  J.  A.  Potter, 
general  manager  of  the  Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion  Co.,  sends  the 
following  remarks : — 

"  In  the  absence  of  freezing  works  ashore,  and  the  consequent 
initial  freezing  and  preparation  of  the  carcasses  on  board,  great 
delay  in  loading  was  caused,  and  even  steamers  for  a  time  had 
to  perform  this  work.  But  soon  freezing  works  ashore 
began  to  be  erected,  and  gradually  all  cargoes  were  prepared 
prior  to  shipment,  and  sent  in  a  frozen  state  to  the  carrying 
vessel.  In  the  early  days  of  the  industry  complete  or  partial 
failure  at  times  took  place  due  to  some  breakdown  of  machinery 
imperfect  preparation  of  the  carcasses,  faulty  insulation,  etc., 
but  with  the  growth  of  the  trade  experience  and  science  brought 
knowledge,  and  to-day  it  is  marvellous  with  what  certainty  such 
a  delicate  article  of  commerce  can  be  conveyed  in  perfect 
condition  from  one  end  of  the  world  to  the  other.  Mutton, 
lamb,  beef,  butter,  cheese,  and  delicate  fruits,  are  shipped  at 
the  far  Antipodes  with  a  practical  certainty  that  they  will  be 
put  on  the  English  market  in  the  same  state  of  preservation  as 
they  would  be  if  offered  for  sale  at  the  place  of  production." 

The  evolution  of  the  modern  frozen  or  chilled  meat  carrier 
has  been  a  gradual  process,  in  which  details  have  one  by  one 
been  revised  in  accordance  with  the  march  of  modern  invention 
and  the  discovery  of  the  more  up-to-date  appliances  employed 
in  mechanical  refrigeration.  In  the  early  eighties  mail 
steamers  were  fitted  with  limited  refrigerated  accommodation, 
e.g.,  in  1884  the  Arawa  and  the  Tainui,  which  have  been  already 
referred  to ;  and  it  was  then  thought  that  about  15,000  carcasses 
refrigerated  capacity  was  sufficient.  Ideas  grew,  and  following 
the  equipment  of  the  early  mail  steamers  came  the  pressing 
into  refrigerated  service  of  cargo  steamers,  later  coming  the 
boats  built  especially  for  cold  storage  transport,  of  which  the 
latest  examples  carry  huge  cargoes  considerably  in  advance  of 
100,000  carcasses. 

It  will  enable  the  reader  to  gain  some  idea  of  the  great 


1 


THE  SHIPOWNERS'   BURDEN  135 

progress  made  with  the  frozen  meat  carrier  since  its  first 
conception  thirty  years  ago,  if  he  remembers  that  from  1885  to 
1888  a  4,000-ton  dead  weight  steamer  was  a  big  vessel.  Ships 
were  then  constructed  to  carry  the  maximum  quantity  of 
dead  weight  on  tin-  minimum  net  register.  Consequently  they 
had  the  minimum  amount  of  cabin  capacity  within  their 
dimensions.  When  frozen  meat  became  a  factor  in  the  steam 
carrying  trade,  it  was  found  that,  as  it  required  160  cubic  feet, 
including  refrigerating  apparatus  and  insulation,  to  carry 
20  cwte.  of  meat,  it  was  advisable  to  increase  the  number  of 
decks  within  the  dimensions  of  the  vessel.  This  was  effected 
by  putting  on  a  shade  deck,  which  filled  up  the  space  between 
the  forecastle  and  the  short  bridge  and  the  deck,  and  making  it 
a  continuous  deck,  thereby  forming,  as  it  were,  another  storey  in 
the  vessel,  this  giving  roughly  25  to  33  per  cent,  more  cubic 
capacity  than  the  old  style.  On  top  of  this  shade  deck  was 
put  a  small  forecastle,  and  possibly  a  small  bridge,  which  would 
carry  the  officers  of  the  steamer,  the  question  of  stability  being 
provided  for  by  increasing  the  beam  to  counteract  the  extra 
height.  To-day  the  modern  steamer  is  roughly  eight  to  nine 
beams  in  her  length,  whereas  in  the  old  days  she  was  nine  to 
ten,  and  possibly  a  little  more. 

The  Shipowner  as  Merchant. 

There  have  been  times  in  which  the  shipowner  in  his  con- 
nection with  the  frozen  meat  trade  has  turned  merchant. 
About  twenty  years  ago,  say,  1891,  the  three  regular  lines 
carrying  meat  from  New  Zealand  began  to  buy,  in  order  to  fill 
their  ships.  They  were  forced  to  do  so,  otherwise  their  ships 
would  have  sailed  for  London  with  empty  holds.  Even 
previous  to  this  they  had  taken  an  interest  in  the  meat  by 
receiving  freight  on  a  sliding  scale  according  to  the  price 
realized.  The  reason  for  such  action  could  well  be  understood, 
and  the  later  development  of  the  same  general  policy  was 
shown  by  the  tendency  of  shipowners  to  finance  the  erec- 
tion of  works,  recouping  themselves  by  freight  contracts 
securing  the  output.  The  case  against  the  shipowner  actually 


competing  with  his  clients  is  very  strong,  and  no  circum- 
stances but  the  most  unusual  and  compelling  could  justify 
such  a  departure  from  mercantile  ethics.  There  are  other 
instances  of  shipowners  in  the  Australasian  trade  acting  in 
this  dual  capacity.  One  of  these  relates  to  the  shipments 
of  frozen  beef  from  Queensland  to  Vladivostock,  in  regard  to 
which,  perhaps,  one  may  say  that  as  this  was  a  new  departure, 
as  well  as  speculative,  and  probably  temporary  in  character, 
the  element  of  competition  with  the  merchant  did  not  arise, 
at  least,  in  a  marked  degree. 

In  1894,  owing  to  exceptionally  heavy  imports  of  meat 
from  Australia,  the  London  cold  stores  became  choked  with 
meat,  and  the  vessels  as  they  arrived  in  the  Thames  were 
unable  to  discharge  their  cargo.  This  state  of  affairs  marked 
one  of  the  most  serious  crises  the  frozen  meat  trade  has  passed 
through.  The  same  position  was,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  within 
an  ace  of  occurring  in  1909,  but  by  that  time  the  capacity  of  the 
stores  had  greatly  increased.  On  the  earlier  occasion  referred 
to  above,  vessels  had  to  be  used  as  stores,  and  lay  for  weeks  on 
demurrage.  This  might  suit  the  shipowner  in  some  instances, 
but  not  those  having  to  work  a  regular  service  on  time 
tables.  Such  owners  could  not  get  their  ships  discharged, 
and  their  arrangements  were  completely  upset,  while,  to  make 
matters  still  more  awkward  for  them,  some  clients  who  had 
sold  their  meat  insisted  on  delivery.  This  could  not  be  effected, 
because  the  meat  was  under  that  of  other  consignees  who  were 
unable  to  authorize  landing,  having  no  store  room  obtainable. 
The  shipowner  in  such  circumstances  stood  to  be  shot  at  by  the 
consignees  who  were  losing  their  market,  for  he  could  not  throw 
the  meat  of  the  others  out  on  the  quay. 

Freights. 

Freights  fell,  of  course,  as  frozen  meat  cargo  became  regular 
and  bulky.  On  the  first  shipment  from  New  Zealand,  that  of 
the  Dunedin,  the  freight  was  2^d. ;  steamers  of  the  same  line 
are  carrying  meat  to-day  at  \d.  The  freight  on  the  first  meat 
vessel  from  the  Plate,  the  s.s.  Meath,  was  2%d.  In  1891  New 
Zealand  mutton  freight  was  reduced  to  Id.,  by  1894  to  feZ., 


Yin     -IIFPOWNERS'   BURDEN  187 

and  by  1807  to  Jrf.  The  present  rate  of  freight  on  frozen  meat 
from  Australia  to  United  Kingdom  ports,  say  jjd.  per  lb.,  and 
\$d.  to  Mediterranean  ports,  shippers  consider  too  high.  It  la 
only  the  great  quantities  of  meat  carried,  and  the  construction 
of  specially  designed  steamers,  that  allow  of  more  moderate 
rates  being  fixed.  Shipowners,  when  asked,  say  that  frozen 
HH-.-it  is  not  a  "  good  paying  freight."  An  occurrence  which 
would  seem  to  fortify  this  assertion  was  the  taking  out  of  the 
refrigerating  machinery  from  the  sailer  Hinemoa  some  yean 
ago,  the  owner,  Mr.  Leslie,  declaring  that  ordinary  cargo  would 
pay  better.  Still,  for  the  splendid  and  well-equipped  vessels 
of  the  lines  bringing  food  products  from  South  America  and 
Australasia  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  frozen  meat  trade 
has  been  a  very  profitable  occupation  indeed,  and  responsible  to 
no  small  extent  for  the  development  of  the  "  refrigerated  fleet." 

Multiplicity  of  Marks. 

One  of  the  greatest  burdens  the  shipowners  have  to  bear, 
with  what  philosophy  they  may — in  the  New  Zealand  and 
Australian  trade — is  the  excessive  sub-division  of  the  mutton 
and  lamb  consignments  into  marks.  The  system  has  come 
about  through  the  personal  part  which  the  farmers  (mainly 
in  New  Zealand)  take  in  the  business.  Where  the  growers 
sell  their  stock  to  the  freezing  works,  as  is  the  case  invariably 
in  Argentina,  and  usually  in  Australia,  the  grouping  of  the 
carcasses  into  separate  parcels  and  the  placing  of  distin- 
guishing marks  on  them  is  only  governed  in  the  main  by 
the  consignees  to  whom  they  go.  But  the  way  in  which  the 
New  Zealand  trade  is  done  involves  the  division,  to  a  consider- 
able degree,  of  the  frozen  meat  shipments  from  a  works.  There 
may  be  scores  of  c.i.f.  buyers  interested  in  the  meat  shipped  in 
a  liner  by  one  of  the  freezing  establishments,  and  such  lots  have 
to  be  "  delivered  to  marks."  This  is  bad  enough,  but  where  the 
shipowner — and  the  subsequent  handlers,  too — find  this  split- 
ting up  maddening  is  when  the  New  Zealand  farmer  sends  in  his 
few  sheep— frequently  less  than  a  hundred — to  the  works,  and 
upon  those  carcasses  being  specially  marked,  and  each 


138     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 


grade  of  weight  and  quality  kept  separate.  It  is  natural,  perhaps, 
that  he  should  desire  that  an  account  sales  should  reach  him, 
giving  the  sale  price  of  each  class  of  carcass  in  his  particular 
lot ;  but  his  action  places  an  almost  unbearable  burden  upon  the 
various  agents  he  employs  to  put  his  meat  on  the  English 
market,  namely,  the  shipowner,  the  storekeeper,  and  the  con- 
signee. In  the  course  of  the  discussion  of  a  paper  on  "  The 
Inspection  and  Distribution  of  Meat  Foods,"  read  by  Mr.  F. 
Knowles  before  the  Cold  Storage  and  Ice  Association  in  April, 
1910,  a  speaker  said  that  on  one  occasion,  owing  to  the  multi- 
plicity of  marks  occurring  in  a  frozen  meat  cargo  arriving  at 
Liverpool,  it  had  taken  him  a  whole  week  to  get  2,000  lambs 
from  a  ship,  and  all  that  time  he  had  been  constantly  travelling 
between  Liverpool  and  Manchester.  Carters  sometimes  aban- 
doned altogether  contracts  for  carrying  such  meat  to  store 
because  of  the  delay  in  discharging  from  the  vessel  owing  to 
the  marks  difficulty. 

To  take  an  actual  shipment  of  mutton  from  New  Zealand  in 
1909  from  one  of  the  North  Island  Works,  for  6,000  carcasses 
there  were  no  less  than  460  different  marks.  Again,  in  the  case 
of  one  bill  of  lading  for  211  sheep,  altering  the  marks  and 
numbers,  this  is  how  the  division  was  made  : — 


HFC 


Pakeha 
2  Ships 

HFC 


2  Ships 
HFC 


Sheep. 

425/1 

4 

HFC 

425/7 

27 

Pakeha 

425/3 

8 

425/9 

3 

HFC 

425/4 

7 

,, 

425/1 

3 

M 

425 

2 

» 

640/1 

22 

2  Ships 

640/7 

29 

640/3 

20 

HFC 

640/9 

6 

„ 

640/5 

2 

,, 

640 

16 

» 

705/1 

2 

HFC 

705/7 

1 

Sheep. 

705/4 

4 

705/1 

2 

680/1 

3 

680/7 

9 

680/3 

12 

680/9 

8 

680/5 

1 

680 

8 

120/1 

2 

120/7 

1 

120/3 

1 

120/4 

6 

720/4 


2 

211  0/8 

Now,  in  all  the  processes  through  which  these  carcasses  pass 
from  works  to  market,  "HFC  705/7  "   (one  sheep)  has  got 


THE  SHIPWVM  It-      HI  IU)KN  139 

to  be  kept  separate.    That  IB  the  theory,  but  at  times  it  i  • 
absolutely  impossible  to  do  so,  and  it  is  to  be  feared  that 

II  F  C  705/7"  gets  mixed  up  with  other  goods.  It  is 
obvious  that  such  a  system  of  business  is  faulty  ;  it  would  be 
so  with  any  description  of  merchandise,  more  or  less,  but  \\ith 
I •«•!•! -liable  produce  like  frozen  meat  it  is  often  fatal.  The  great 
thing  with  refrigerated  meat  is  to  save  handling,  and  multi- 
plicity of  marks  makes  for  handling.  An  enormous  amount 
of  sorting  over  of  meat  cargoes  takes  place  at  the  point  of 
discharge  before  "HFC  705/7  "  and  its  fellows  can  be  got 
at,  and  in  this  sorting  over  the  meat  gets  damaged.  This  matter 
is  mentioned  here  not  only  to  record  an  existing  feature  of  the 
trade,  but  to  urge  strongly  upon  all  parties  in  the  New  Zealand 
trade  to  see  if  the  farmers  cannot  preserve  their  own  individual 
interests  by  other  means.  There  is  no  doubt  that  New  Zealand 
meat  suffers  greatly  from  the  way  in  which  it  has  to  be  handled 
in  separate  lots  ;  exposure  to  the  atmosphere  causes  much  loss 
of  bloom.  The  bright  ruddy  appearance  of  a  newly  arrived 
crossbred  sheep  is  a  wonderful  market  asset.  Canterbury, 
New  Zealand,  has  been  the  centre  of  this  sub-division  system. 
In  1907  the  shipowners  began  to  take  action,  and  since  then  the 
question  has  been  constantly  discussed,  and  conferences  with 
merchants  have  been  held.  In  the  Australian  trade,  where  the 
shipowners  were  unhampered  by  contracts,  they  took  action 
by  stamping  bills  of  lading  to  the  effect  that  they  would  not 
be  responsible  for  sub-marks.  A  "  sorting  store  "  at  the  Dock 
stores  in  London  was  mooted  in  1892  and  later,  in  order  to  deal 
with  this  difficulty,  but  clashings  of  interests  and  the  small 
extra  expense  per  carcass  involved  prevented  reform  being 
carried  out.  In  1899  the  marks  trouble  became  very  pro- 
nounced and  shipowners  threatened  "  pooling  "  the  cargoes. 

A  scheme  to  adopt  special  stripes  varying  in  design  and 
colour  for  use  on  the  meat  wraps,  so  as  to  provide  one  distin- 
guishing and  easily  visible  brand  for  each  works  was  suggested 
in  1909 — 1910,  and  met  with  the  approval  of  shipowners  in 
principle,  but  in  working  out  the  details  many  trivial  objec- 
tions were  raised  which  still  remain  to  be  dealt  with  before 
the  shippers  will  willingly  adopt  the  recommendation.  It  has 


140     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

much  to  commend  it  as  a  means  of  lessening  the  handling 
at  this  end. 

Many  of  the  criticisms  made  of  London  methods  of 
discharge  would  have  no  existence  but  for  the  continued  use 
of  so  many  distinctive  marks  in  each  cargo— especially  from 
New  Zealand.  The  endless  sub-divisions  employed  are  an 
anachronism — relics  of  the  youthful  days  of  the  trade  when 
the  farmer  was  the  freezing  company.  Argentina,  Uruguay, 
Patagonia,  all  ship  in  big  lines  of  500  to  1,000  or  even  5,000 
carcasses  of  one  mark.  Until  Australia  and  New  Zealand  can 
act  similarly,  they  will  be  handicapped  in  their  efforts  to  secure 
the  trade  of  the  big  retailers. 

The  Shipowner  and  the  South  American  Meat  Trade. 

In  1883,  when  the  first  shipments  of  frozen  meat  were  ready 
to  be  despatched  from  the  Campana  works,  Buenos  Aires,  there 
were  no  shipowners  with  sufficient  knowledge  of  the  possibilities 
of  the  new  industry  to  induce  them  to  instal  refrigerating 
machinery  and  insulation  in  their  steamers  at  their  own  expense, 
so  the  shippers — the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co. — had  to  put 
in  the  machines,  etc.,  themselves.  Their  initial  shipment,  in 
1883,  was  brought  by  the  s.s.  Meath,  as  stated  earlier  in  this 
book.  The  vessel  arrived  in  London  in  January,  1884,  via 
Antwerp,  where  she  had  discharged  some  meat.  The  s.s.  Meath 
and  the  s.s.  Wexford — the  next  vessel — both  owned  by  Mr.  R. 
M.  Hudson,  of  Sunderland,  and  running  under  Messrs.  Houlders' 
contract,  continued  in  the  regular  Plate  trade  until  1886,  and 
for  many  years  afterwards  as  independent  units  available  for 
chartering  to  any  part  of  the  world.  In  addition  to  these 
vessels  were  the  s.s.  Zenobia  and  Zephyrus,  which  were  fitted 
with  Haslam  cold  air  machinery.  The  "  Z  "  boats,  owned  by 
Messrs.  Turner,  Brightman  and  Co.,  were,  and  are  still,  taken  by 
the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  on  long  time  charters  ;  except- 
ing the  s.s.  Zephyrus  and  Zenobia,  which  ran  under  the  Houlder 
contract  until  1893,  the  various  "  Z  "  boats  have  practically 
been  built  for  the  company.  The  s.s.  Zephyrus,  by  the  way,  is 
still  bringing  frozen  meat  from  Argentina — though  not  now  on 


THK  SHIPOWNERS'    BURDEN  141 

account  of  the  River  Plate  Co. — after  twenty-eight  yean  of 
good  service  as  a  meat  carrier,  with  the  original  Haslam 
machinery  on  board.  The  River  Plate  Co.  put  Haa lam's  refri- 
gerating machinery  and  insulation  into  ten  of  the  "  Z  "  boats. 
lYom  about  1909  the  owners  of  the  line  have  installed  the 
machinery  and  insulation. 

Messrs.  Houlder  were  associated  with  the  conveying  of  the 
first  shipments  of  frozen  meat  from  the  River  Plate.  As 
mentioned  above,  Messrs.  Houlder  contracted  to  bring  to  the 
United  Kingdom  the  first  shipments  from  the  Campana  Works, 
and  their  chartered  vessels,  the  Meath  and  the  Wexford,  there- 
fore, had  pride  of  place  in  opening  the  South  American  trade. 
Referring  to  the  Houlder  Lane,  the  s.s.  Hornby  Orange  and 
Ovingdean  Orange  were  the  pioneer  ships  in  the  refrigerated 
produce  trade  of  the  service,  these  vessels  being  fitted  in  1890 
and  1895  respectively.  Ever  since  that  year  the  Houlder  Lone 
steamers  have  held  a  very  important  position  in  the  South 
American  frozen  meat  trade,  conveying  meat  on  contract 
to  the  ports  of  the  United  Kingdom  for  the  various  frigorificos. 
For  example,  they  have  had  carrying  contracts  with  one  of  the 
largest  Argentine  frozen  meat  exporting  firms  for  the  past 
sixteen  or  seventeen  years,  and  with  the  freezing  works  at 
Monte  Video  from  the  time  of  their  erection.  At  the  present 
time,  as  far  as  the  service  to  the  "  outports  "  is  concerned,  the 
Houlder  Line  is  running  a  refrigerated  boat  every  three  weeks 
to  Liverpool  and  Cardiff,  and  one  also  every  three  weeks  to 
Southampton,  London,  and  Newcastle.  At  the  time  this  book 
goes  to  press  the  Houlder  Line  owns  the  frozen  meat  carrier 
possessing  a  larger  refrigerated  capacity  than  any  other  >hip 
in  the  world ;  this  is  the  Sutherland  Grange,  which  has  an 
insulated  capacity  of  397,000  cubic  feet. 

Messrs.  R.  P.  Houston  and  Co.  (Houston  Line)  were  one  of  the 
first  firms  to  insulate  and  fit  their  steamers  for  the  conveyance  of 
frozen  meat  from  the  Argentine  Republic  to  ports  in  the  United 
Kingdom  ;  this  was  in  the  year  1884,  and  they  then  fitted  up 
four  steamers,  the  first  one  being  the  Heaperides.  Mr.  R.  P. 
Houston,  M.P.,  was  in  Buenos  Aires  in  the  early  part  of  1884, 
and  he  arranged  a  contract  for  a  period  with  the  late  Senor 


142     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Don  Francisco  de  Sansinena  for  the  conveyance  of  frozen  meat 
to  this  country.  The  first  live  cattle  ever  shipped  from  the 
River  Plate  to  Europe  were  carried  by  a  Houston  Line  steamer 
and  landed  at  Dunkirk  in  the  year  1884. 

The  first  steamer  of  the  Lamport  and  Holt  line  to  carry  meat 
from  South  America  was  the  Thales,  in  1887.  The  European 
ports  to  which  the  refrigerated  vessels  of  this  service  now  run  are 
Southampton  and  Liverpool.  With  the  delivery  of  the  two  new 
twin  screw  steamers,  Vauban  and  Vestris,  the  service  will  be 
a  four-weekly  one,  calling  at  Lisbon,  Vigo,  and  Cherbourg  with 
passengers,  and  Southampton  and  Liverpool  with  passengers 
and  frozen  and  chilled  produce. 

Messrs.  H.  and  W.  Nelson,  Ltd.,  as  managers  of  two  impor- 
tant refrigerated  steamship  services  from  the  River  Plate  to 
England,  have  played  a  prominent  part  in  the  Argentine 
carrying  trade.  Formed  in  the  early  nineties,  for  the  purpose 
of  carrying  frozen  meat  from  Argentina  for  Messrs.  James  Nelson 
and  Sons,  Ltd.,  Messrs.  H.  and  W.  Nelson  later  contracted 
with  other  meat  companies,  and  fortnightly  and  weekly  services 
are  run  respectively  by  the  two  lines  they  manage,  the  Nelson 
Line  (Liverpool),  Ltd.,  and  the  Nelson  Steam  Navigation  Co., 
Ltd.,  of  London.  The  latter  company  was  formed  in  1910  to 
acquire  from  the  Nelson  Line  (London),  Ltd.,  a  company  regis- 
tered in  the  same  year,  nine  new  steamers,  each  of  a  refrigerated 
capacity  of  330,000  cubic  feet,  and  fitted  with  ammonia  com- 
pression refrigerating  machinery  by  the  Liverpool  Refrigeration 
Co.,  Ltd.,  and  also  a  tenth  steamer  to  complete  a  weekly 
service  to  London.  With  these  boats,  which  are  a  most  modern 
and  well-equipped  type  of  the  chilled  meat  carrier,  were  acquired 
freight  contracts  with  the  Swift  Beef  Co.,  the  La  Blanca  Co., 
the  Smithfield  and  Argentine  Meat  Co.,  and  the  Frigorifico 
Argentine.  The  first  boat  run  by  Messrs.  H.  and  W.  Nelson 
was  the  Highland  Scot,  in  which  cold  air  refrigerating  machinery 
was  installed  by  Messrs.  J.  and  E.  Hall. 

The  Royal  Mail  Steam  Packet  Co.  first  entered  the  refrige- 
rated trade  in  1883,  and  the  first  vessel  fitted  was  the  s.s.  Tagus. 
The  mail  steamers  of  the  line,  which  carry  meat  to  Southampton 
only,  take  twenty-one  days  from  the  River  Plate ;  the  cargo 


THE  SHIPOWNERS'   BURDEN  143 

reesels,  despatched  to  Southampton,  London,  and  Hull,  take 
twenty-eight  days.  The  ships  of  this  company  carry  meat  for 
t  lu«  various  Argentine  meat  companies,  under  long  contracts. 

The  Chargeurs  Rcunis,  a  French  line  which  runs  from  South 
America  to  Havre,  via  London  and  Hull,  carries  chilled 
and  frozen  meat  for  the  Compania  Sansinena  de  Games 
Congeladas. 

The  Argentine  Cargo  line,  controlled  by  Messrs.  Furness, 
Withy  and  Co.,  and  Messrs.  Birt,  Potter  and  Hughes,  has 
vessels  carrying  refrigerated  meat  from  Argentina  to  London. 
A  new  line  is  to  be  started  about  June,  1912,  which  Messrs. 
Furness,  Withy,  and  Co.  and  Messrs.  Birt,  Potter  and  Hughes, 
Ltd.,  will  control ;  this  will  run  from  South  America  to  Liver- 
pool in  less  than  twenty-one  days.  Five  vessels  for  this 
SIT  vice  are  being  fitted  out,  or  are  in  hand,  which  will  each 
have  a  cubic  capacity  of  400,000.  Arrangements  have  been 
made  so  that  the  vessels  of  this  line  will  be  despatched  alter- 
nately with  those  of  the  Royal  Mail  Co.  at  weekly  intervals. 
These  steamers  are  intended  chiefly  for  the  conveyance  of 
chilled  beef. 

Messrs.  R.  M.  Hudson  and  Sons  also  run  a  regular  line  of 
cargo  vessels  in  the  Argentine  meat  trade. 

Shipping  Arrangements  of  the  South  American  Frigorificos. 
— In  a  previous  paragraph  appears  a  note  concerning  the  way 
in  which  the  company  which  first  began  the  regular  despatch  of 
frozen  meat  from  Argentina,  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co., 
manages  its  ocean  transport.  The  Compania  Sansinena  de 
Carnes  Congeladas  have  shipped  their  frozen  and  chilled  meat 
largely  by  Messrs.  Houlder's  steamers,  and  also  by  the  Chargeurs 
Reunis  boats,  though  the  company  uses  other  lines  of  vessels 
too.  In  the  early  days  Messrs.  Houston's  steamers  were 
employed.  The  company  despatches  its  meat  from  its  Argen- 
tine and  Uruguayan  works  to  London,  Liverpool,  Cardiff,  Hull, 
Newcastle,  and  Southampton.  Messrs.  James  Nelson  and  Sons 
have  shipped  meat  regularly  from  the  Las  Palmas  works  by 
the  vessels  of  the  Nelson  Line  ;  the  bulk  of  the  meat  from  these 
works  is  conveyed  to  Liverpool.  The  first  shipments  de- 
spatched were  in  1888,  and  the  s.s.  JKannioor,  of  the  Lamport  and 


144      A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Holt  line,  was  the  vessel  that  brought  the  initial  shipment, 
which  was  on  account  of  Nelson's  River  Plate  Meat  Co. 

The  other  Argentine  freezing  works,  formed  in  comparatively 
modern  times,  those  of  the  La  Plata,  La  Blanca,  Smithfield 
and  Argentine,  and  Frigorifico  Argentino  companies,  despatch 
their  frozen  and  chilled  meat  to  British  ports  by  the  various 
lines  above  mentioned.  Their  shipments  to  Continental  ports 
are  carried  by  specially  chartered  British  steamers  and  by  the 
Italian  or  Austrian-owned  liners. 

The  two  freezing  works  in  the  Straits  of  Magellan,  at  Rio 
Seco  and  San  Gregorio,  despatch  their  frozen  meat  to  Liverpool 
by  the  Houlder  steamers,  and  by  other  steamers  specially 
chartered  from  time  to  time. 

The  Venezuelan  Meat  and  Products  Syndicate  ships  its  meat 
from  the  works  at  Puerto  Cabello  to  Southampton  by  the 
Royal  Mail  liners,  and  to  Liverpool  and  the  Continent  by  the 
new  s.s.  Imataka,  belonging  to  Messrs.  Brooker  Brothers,  and 
McConnell,  Ltd. 

Rates  of  Freight. — The  usual  plan  in  shipping  frozen  meat 
on  the  steamers  in  the  Argentine  trade  is  for  the  shippers  to 
engage  a  certain  space  for  a  definite  period.  This  space  has 
to  be  filled  on  each  voyage,  or  dead  freight  has  to  be  paid. 
The  present  rate  of  freight  on  frozen  meat  may  be  stated  as 
fd.  per  Ib.  for  mutton  and  beef.  Chilled  beef  pays  }%d.,  or 
%\\d.  per  Ib.  on  the  basis  of  105  cubic  feet  to  the  ton.  Frozen 
meat  stows  in  about  105  cubic  feet  to  the  ton,  whereas 
chilled  beef  occupies  from  170  to  200  cubic  feet  to  the  ton. 

Long  contracts  are  customary  in  the  Argentine  trade,  usually 
for  five  years.  It  may  be  mentioned  that  there  is  little  "  ship 
damage  "  to  meat  from  South  America  ;  this  may  be  accounted 
for  by  the  fact  that  the  whole  shipload  of  meat  frequently 
represents  the  loading  of  one  works,  or,  at  most,  of  three 
works.  The  average  length  of  voyage  of  a  cargo  vessel  bringing 
meat  from  Argentina  is  twenty-six  to  twenty-eight  days  to  the 
first  English  port. 


CHAPTER  X 

THE  UNDERWRITERS'  RISK 

IT  is  possible  that  this  subject  is  not  considered  as  closely  by 
the  grower  of  the  meat  as,  with  advantage,  it  might  be.  For 
instance,  the  New  Zealand  farmer  takes  a  deal  of  interest  in 
the  marketing  at  Smithfield  of  his  frozen  meat,  but  shipping 
and  insuring  he  leaves  to  his  agents.  The  producer,  by  get  t  ing 
to  note  the  points  where  friction  occurs,  might  help  the  business 
along.  As  it  is  plain  that  heavy  insurance  charges  must  react 
unfavourably  on  the  profits  of  the  producer,  it  is  a  matter  for 
comment  that  growers  of  meat  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand 
have  never  attempted  to  grapple  seriously  with  the  conditions 
which  have  not  only  prevented  insurance  rates  falling  of  late 
years  but  have  actually  sent  them  up.  More  satisfactory 
conditions  of  insurance  would  certainly  be  the  outcome  of 
businesslike  and  combined  efforts  for  reform  by  the  parties 
concerned  ;  not  alone  by  the  growers,  but  to  some  extent  the 
merchants  and  agents  who  put  the  meat  through.  Take  1909, 
when  a  great  outcry  was  raised  in  Sydney  concerning  damaged 
meat  from  Australia  arriving  in  Great  Britain.  The  Chamber 
of  Commerce  in  Sydney  took  the  matter  up,  and  a  committee 
of  investigation  was  formed.  Well,  the  circumstances  respon- 
sible for  the  imperfect  handling  of  the  meat  had  been  in  exist- 
ence for  years  ;  there  was  absolutely  nothing  new,  yet  the 
meat  exporters  and  shipping  merchants  apparently  were 
"  surprised  "  to  hear  of  such  a  state  of  affairs.  There  were 
few  who  knew  anything  at  all  about  the  trade  who  were 
unacquainted  with  the  weaknesses  of  the  export  trade  as  it 
was  carried  on  in  New  South  Wales,  and  the  recommendations 
of  the  Sydney  Chamber  of  Commerce  committee  revealed  the 
evils  existing.  For  instance,  here  are  a  few  sample  points 
urged : — That  proper  provision  should  be  made  at  the  new 

F.M.  L 


146     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

abattoirs  for  weighing  and  grading  meat ;  that  the  Government 
should  not  allow  emaciated  or  poor-conditioned  carcasses  to 
be  ticketed  with  the  Government  label  for  export ;  that  the 
vans  carrying  lamb  carcasses  from  abattoirs  to  freezing  works 
should  not  be  overloaded  ;  that  the  existing  methods  of  carting 
and  lightering  meat  from  the  freezing  chambers  to  export 
vessels  in  open  wagons  and  lighters  was  unsatisfactory  ;  and  so 
on.  Such  weak  points  had  existed  in  the  light  of  day,  yet 
it  was  only  the  tireless  wielding  of  such  trenchant  pens  as 
that  of  Captain  A.  W.  Pearse  that  secured  due  notice  of  the 
misdeeds  wrought  in  the  name  of  refrigerated  export. 

The  issues  with  which  this  chapter  is  concerned  are  at  times 
so  involved  that  the  Courts  of  Law  have  to  be  visited  in  order 
to  get  judicial  ruling.  From  1880  onwards  the  insurance  of 
frozen  meat  has  presented  peculiar  difficulties,  and  the  under- 
writer has  been  slow  to  adapt  himself  to  the  situation  satis- 
factorily to  all  interests  in  this  new  section  of  his  business.  The 
frozen  meat  trade  is  even  yet  a  new  one,  and  before  it  settles 
down  quite  permanently  into  its  groove  in  the  commercial 
world  all  the  mercantile  methods  by  which  it  is  handled  must 
become  more  defined  and  scientifically  sound. 

Early  Insurance  Covers. 

The  pioneer  shipment  by  the  Dunedin  from  New  Zealand 
was  insured  at  £5  5s.  per  cent.,  as  stated  in  Chapter  II.,  and 
the  first  shipment  of  the  Mataura  in  1883  from  New  Zealand 
was  insured  for  £4,000  by  seven  offices  at  £7  7s.  per  cent., 
w.p.a.  Insurance  was  effected  then  by  local  insurance  com- 
panies. A  little  later  the  premium,  for  "  all  risks  "  policies, 
reverted  to  £5  5s.  per  cent.  By  1886  the  export  of  meat  from 
New  Zealand  had,  according  to  the  Otago  Marine  Underwriters' 
Association,  become  so  well  understood  that  many  of  the  risks 
incidental  to  the  introduction  of  the  business  had  entirely 
disappeared.  Commenting  on  this,  the  Australasian  Insurance 
and  Banking  Record  in  1897  observed  that  "  consignees  had 
not  at  that  time  educated  themselves  up  to  their  present  high 
standard  in  the  science  of  claim  making."  Generally  speaking, 


THE  UNDERWRITERS*   RISK  147 

for  the  first  ten  years  there  was  not  much  to  complain  about 
in  the  tarrying  of  the  New  Zealand  cargoes;  from  1882  to 
1887,  out  of  172  shipments  only  nine  were  returned  as  in 
"  unsatisfactory  condition,"  that  is  to  say,  thoroughly  unsatis- 
factory condition.  But  the  Australian  records  do  not  read  so 
\\rll  ,  from  1880  to  1887,  out  of  127  shipments  there  were 
nineteen  cargoes  on  the  black  list. 

Steadily  in  the  nineties  this  "  unsatisfactory  condition  "  of 
the  meat  on  arrival  increased,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  following 
quotation  from  the  Australian  and  New  Zealand  Underwriters' 
Association  report  for  1895  : — "  Frozen  Meat. — It  would  be 
impossible  to  omit  from  this  report  reference  to  the  subject 
of  frozen  meat,  the  most  absorbing,  interesting,  and  perplexing, 
of  the  year.  Notwithstanding  the  constant,  anxious,  and 
varied  attention  given  to  it,  the  experience  of  the  past  twelve 
months  has  shown  how  baffled  have  been  all  the  attempts  made 
to  bring  the  treatment  of  this  interest  into  a  satisfactory  con- 
dition. Vast  as  is  the  trade,  paramount  in  its  importance  to 
the  colonies,  and  of  momentous  consequence  to  the  carrying 
companies,  it  must  yet  be  reported  that,  with  all  these  interests 
in  combination  to  make  their  efforts  a  success,  disappointment 
and  failure  has  been  the  result." 

Insurance  matters  continued  unsatisfactory  till  1895,  when 
the  underwriters  drew  up  and  adopted  a  new  clause,  which 
cleverly  met  the  difficulty  of  how  to  exclude  certain  cold  stores 
in  which  damage  to  frozen  meat  had  occurred.  Appended  to 
the  clause  was  a  list  of  "  approved  "  stores.  In  the  clause  the 
period  of  insurance  on  the  meat  after  landing  was  cut  down  to 
sixty  days  as  a  maximum  ;  "  bone  taint  "  was  excluded.  But 
the  passing  of  this  clause  did  not  improve  matters,  and  claims 
became  heavier  and  heavier.  The  underwriters  thought  they 
were  being  victimized  by  market  practices  in  assessing  damage, 
which  in  those  days  was  done  on  the  market  on  the  basis  of 
"  sound  values."  The  underwriters  considered  that  high 
"  sound  values  "  were  engineered  so  as  to  throw  into  strong 
relief  the  goods  to  be  surveyed.  So  they  amended  the  frozen 
meat  clause  once  again  (1897),  and  fixed  thirty  days  from 
ship's  arrival  as  the  outside  period  of  cover  ;  at  the  same  time 

L  2 


148     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

they  insisted  that  the  meat  should  be  surveyed,  and  any 
damage  assessed  in  store  and  not  on  the  market. 

A  market  annual  for  1897  stated  that  on  the  frozen  meat 
imported  from  Australia  from  February  to  March  and  from 
June  to  November  a  depreciation  equal  to  %d.  per  Ib.  on  750,000 
carcasses  had  taken  place  through  faulty  condition  ;  out  of 
forty-six  cargoes,  twenty-one  contained  meat  which  was  con- 
demned. In  the  following  year  20  per  cent,  of  the  meat 
cargoes  arrived  in  a  damaged  state. 

In  referring  further  to  insurance  premiums,  it  may  be  stated 
that  in  December,  1895,  the  sailing  vessel  Hinemoa  carried 
frozen  mutton  and  lamb  from  Melbourne  to  London,  and  then 
the  rate  was  90s.  per  cent.,  with  10s.  per  cent,  extra  for  the 
proportion  frozen  on  board.  Fifteen  months  later  the  same 
vessel  lifted  another  cargo,  when  the  rates  were  65s.  net  for 
mutton  and  lamb,  and  85s.  net  for  beef. 

In  1897  the  Hinemoa  took  another  loading  insured  at  90s. 
per  cent.,  and  in  March  following,  the  Opawa,  also  a  sailer, 
carried  meat  to  Durban  insured  at  £5  5s.  per  cent.  Steamers 
in  the  meantime  began  to  cater  more  for  the  trade,  and  with 
the  growth  of  competition  amongst  underwriters  rates  were 
gradually  reduced.  In  March,  1898,  the  first  frozen  meat 
tariff  came  into  force.  The  "  all  risks  "  rate  on  mutton  to  the 
United  Kingdom  was  then  fixed  at  47s.  6d.  for  works,  voyage, 
and  thirty  days'  storage  by  P.  and  0.  steamers,  70s.  by  other 
steamers  and  regular  liners. 


Claims,  Surveys,  and  Allowances. 

The  adjustment  of  claims  has  always  been  a  very  sore  point. 
When  the  surveys  and  allowances  were  made  on  the  market, 
the  importers'  theory  was  that  only  when  loss  was  actually 
made  in  retailing  the  meat  would  allowances  be  claimed  ;  if  the 
meat  was  accepted  by  retail  buyers  as  sound  nothing  could  be 
claimed.  But  when  it  was  decided  by  underwriters,  in  face 
of  opposition  from  traders,  that  surveys  must  be  held  in  store, 
the  consignees,  to  protect  themselves  against  possible  loss, 


1111     UNDERWRITERS'  RISK  149 

necessarily  made  claims  upon  "  estimated  losses  "  before  sale. 
This  system  has  prevailed  ever  since.  Consignees  protested 
against  the  thirty  days'  limit,  but  the  insurance  people  were 
obdurate.  Meat  condemned  by  the  sanitary  authorities  was 
limited  in  claims  under  the  new  arrangements  to  the  current 
"  sound  value,"  thus  reducing  what  proved  to  be  in  some 
oaooo  excessive  insurance  to  the  actual  value  on  a  lower  market. 
The  cost  of  survey  in  store  was  fixed  at  £1  Is.  per  1,000  car- 
casses  "  surveyed  "  ;  the  consignee  and  the  underwriter  were 
both  represented  at  the  survey,  and  the  underwriters  paid  the 
survey  expenses  of  both  parties.  This  practice  existed  up  to 
1909. 

In  connection  with  the  general  question  of  damage  to  frozen 
meat  in  Australian  shipments,  it  is  well  to  chronicle  here  the 
action  taken  by  the  New  South  Wales  Freezing  Companies' 
Association  in  1899.  With  a  view  to  checking  the  damage  to 
frozen  meat,  which  at  that  time  passed  all  bearing,  the  Associa- 
tion sent  to  London  Mr.  C.  C.  Tayloe,  of  Sydney,  who  urged 
the  extension  of  the  Association's  operations  to  London.  This 
was  effected,  and  on  March  25,  1899,  Mr.  Septimus  Merriman, 
the  London  secretary  of  the  Association,  issued  a  circular 
letter  informing  the  trade  what  had  been  done.  A  scheme  was 
worked  out  showing  a  contemplated  expenditure  of  £4,000  a 
year.  Surveyors  in  Sydney  and  London  were  to  inspect  the 
loading  and  discharging  of  the  Sydney-shipped  meat.  The 
Miiveys  were  to  include  examination  of  ships'  refrigerating 
machinery  and  insulation — "  supervision  of  all  means  of 
carriage  from  steamer  to  store."  It  was  a  point  of  the  pro- 
gramme to  get  shippers  to  insure  f.p.a.,  and  under  this  it  was 
hoped  to  bring  down  rates  to  255.  and  20s.  respectively  for  local 
companies  and  Lloyd's.  "  Shippers  must  remember,"  ran  the 
dn-ular,  "  that  with  the  proposed  clause  it  will  be  everyone's 
interest  from  first  to  last  not  to  have  claims."  The  proposal 
of  the  Association  was  never  entirely  put  into  operation, 
i-hkfly  because  it  was  urged  that  steps  be  first  taken  to  put 
things  right  in  Sydney.  This  most  rational  step  did  not 
commend  itself  to  the  promoters,  and  the  whole  scheme 
gradually  died  a  natural  death. 


150     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Allusion  may  be  made  to  the  proposal  put  forward  by 
importers  about  the  middle  of  the  nineties  to  form  in  London 
the  "Australasian  Frozen  Meat  Insurance  Co."  with  a  capital 
of  £100,000.  The  idea  was  that  co-operation  introduced  into 
underwriting  would  provide  the  panacea  required.  Many  well- 
known  firms  discussed  preliminaries,  but  the  affair  did  not  take 
definite  shape. 

With  the  opening  of  the  new  century  improvement  took 
place  in  the  general  conditions  of  handling  frozen  meat  through- 
out the  various  stages  of  the  industry.  A  better  class  of  vessel 
was  brought  into  service,  fitted  in  a  more  modern  style  ;  some 
of  the  older  ships  conveying  meat  were  under-powered  for  the 
refrigerating  work  they  had  to  do.  New  well-equipped  cold 
stores  were  built,  and  transport  arrangements  at  the  ports  of 
debarkation  were  also  improved.  •  Barges  and  vans  were  more 
efficiently  insulated,  and  lightermen  were  instructed  to  proceed 
to  their  respective  stores  (when  the  tide  permitted)  after  work 
at  ship's  side  had  finished  for  the  day ;  that  is,  they  did  not 
remain  in  dock  all  night  waiting  for  a  complete  load  on  the 
following  day.  Also  on  arrival  at  the  store  the  barges  were 
unloaded  immediately.  With  these  reforms  the  "  unsatisfactory 
cargoes,"  heard  of  so  much  from  1885  to  1899,  were  seldom 
recorded.  The  two  great  "  Lloyd  "  institutions — Lloyd's, 
the  underwriters  at  the  Royal  Exchange,  and  Lloyd's  Register 
of  British  and  Foreign  Shipping — played  a  prominent  and 
useful  part  in  improving  matters.  Lloyd's  underwriters  at  that 
time  really  took  little  or  no  interest  in  the  improvements 
referred  to — in  fact,  many  of  them  permitted  meat  to  be  ware- 
housed in  unapproved  stores.  Any  action  that  was  taken 
was  at  the  initiative  of  the  Institute  of  London  Underwriters, 
which  organization  is  the  mouthpiece  of  Lloyd's  underwriters. 
The  Institute  of  London  Underwriters  required  the  barges 
and  cold  stores  to  be  surveyed  and  reports  submitted  to 
them  before  admittance  on  the  approved  list  could  be 
granted.  Arrangements  were  made  between  the  shipowners 
and  Lloyd's  Register  for  Lloyd's  surveyors  at  different  world's 
ports  to  undertake  an  inspection  of  the  refrigerating  and 
insulating  fittings  of  steamers.  This  examination  being 


THE    I  \D1.K\\  HI  I  IK-     1M>K  151 

concluded  satisfactorily,  the  ship  was  from  the  point  of  view 
of  freezing  machinery  and  insulation  "  seaworthy." 

In  1908  there  were  several  serious  accidents  to  Australasian 
steamers  and  consequent  heavy  claims  on  underwriters.  As  a 
consequence,  insurance  rates  were  put  up  from  37s.  6d.  per  cent, 
to  45*.  per  cent,  from  New  Zealand  and  from  50s.  per  cent,  to 
600.  per  cent,  from  Australia.  The  insurance  position  and  the 
feeling  in  the  trade  one  sees  in  the  following  extract  from  the 
annual  review  issued  by  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and  Co.  for  1908 : — 
"  Until  underwriters  will  differentiate  between  good  and  bad 
risks  at  the  various  works,  on  the  various  ships,  and  in  the 
various  stores  engaged  in  the  trade,  instead  of  treating  all  their 
risks  as  equal,  very  little  inducement  is  offered  to  any  individual 
to  lay  out  money  in  order  to  increase  his  precautions  against 
damage.  Underwriters  have  recently  taken  steps  to  bring 
home  to  individual  shipowners  their  responsibility  for  damage 
done  in  transit.  Were  some  similar  course  adopted  to  fix 
responsibility  for  specific  damage  done  in  any  freezing  works  or 
stores  and  adjust  rates  accordingly,  much  good  would  result 
to  underwriters  and  to  the  trade  as  a  whole.  With  the  experi- 
ence of  refrigeration  now  acquired,  there  ought  to  be  no  serious 
damage  to  frozen  meats,  and  but  little  to  chilled,  except  in 
cases  where  an  unforeseen  accident  happens." 

Underwriters  were  restless  about  this  time,  and  in  1909  they 
put  in  force  their  new  clause,  which  introduced  some  drastic 
changes  pressing  hard  on  the  trade.  They  stated  that  the 
insurance  of  meat  did  not  pay  them,  and  that  the  new  regulations 
were  brought  into  the  policy  to  make  the  business  profitable. 
Negotiations  took  place  between  the  importers,  under  the 
auspices  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association, and  the  Institute 
of  London  Underwriters,  but  the  insurance  interests  were 
obdurate,  and  the  new  clause  gradually  worked  into  the 
Australasian  frozen  meat  industry.  Some  of  the  changes  were 
welcomed  by  all,  such  as  the  one  insisting  that  in  loading  and 
discharge  only  trucks,  vans,  and  barges  which  were  provided 
with  efficient  insulation  were  to  be  used. 


152     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 
The  A   1  Clause. 

CLAUSES  FOE  UNITED  KINGDOM  SHIPMENTS. 

FROZEN  MUTTON,  LAMB,  BEEP,  VEAL  AND  PORK. 

Clause  A  1 — (Freezing  Works,  Voyage  and  60  Days). 

1.  The  risk  commences  from  the  time  the  interest  is  passed  into  the  Cooling 
and/or  Freezing  Chambers  of  the  Works  at  and,  unless  previously  terminated, 
continues  on  board  the  vessel  and/or  in  Refrigerating  Stores  in  the  United  Kingdom 
(subject  to  the  conditions  hereinafter  mentioned)  for  a  period  not  exceeding 
60  days  (warranted  not  more  than  30  days  on  board  the  vessel)  from  arrival  of 
vessel  at  destination  as  per  policy,  provided  always : 

2.  That  it  is  warranted  by  the  Assured  that  the  meat  is  in  good  condition  and 
properly  dressed,  cooled,  and  frozen  at  the  Freezing  Works,  and  that  the  period 
between  the  time  the  risk  commences  and  shipment  on  ocean-going  vessel  shall  not 
exceed  60  days. 

3.  That  where  the  interest  has  to  be  conveyed  by  rail  and/or  street  vans  and/or 
lighters  prior  to  shipment  by  oversea  vessel,  such  railway  trucks  and/or  street  vans 
and/or  lighters  must  be  insulated,  otherwise  an  additional  premium  of  10/-  per  cent. 
to  be  paid  ;  and  after  discharge  from  the  vessel  the  interest  shall  be  carried  in 
insulated  street  vans  and/or  insulated  lighters,  otherwise  an  additional  premium  of 
10/-  per  cent,  to  be  paid. 

4.  That  the  cold  stores  in  the  United  Kingdom  shall  be  approved  by  the  Institute 
of  London  Underwriters. 

5.  That  any  disposal  of  the  interest  at  destination  other  than  by  storage  as  above 
(except  with  the  consent  of  the  Underwriters)  or  any  removal  of  the  interest  from 
the  cold  stores  at  destination  previous  to  the  expiry  of  the  60  days  above  mentioned 
terminates  the   insurance  on  such  meat,  and  no  claim  for  damage  shall  attach, 
unless,  immediately  on  the  first  discovery  of  any  damage  to  or  deterioration  of  any 
part  of  the  interest  hereby  insured,  notice  shall  have  been  given  to  the  Underwriters, 
and  the  amount  of  depreciation  agreed  to  by  them  prior  to  the  termination  of  the 
insurance. 

6.  During  the  period  (if  any)  between  assessment  of  depreciation  and  termination 
of  the  insurance  the  risks  covered  hereunder  are  those  of  fire  and  breakdown  of 
machinery  only. 

7.  That  in  the  event  of  interest  being  transhipped,  or  forwarded  on  to  destination 
in  the  United  Kingdom  by  rail,  no  risk  to  attach  hereunder  unless  notice  of  such 
transhipment  or  rail  carriage  be  given  to  the   London   Representative  of    the 
Company  prior  to  commencement  of  such  risk,  the  transhipment  or  forwarding  to 
be  only  by  steamer  fitted  with  refrigerating  machinery  or  by  rail  in  properly 
insulated  vans.    An  extra  premium  at  the  rate  of  20/-  per  cent,  to  be  paid  for 
such  risk. 

8.  That  the  value  to  be  made  good  in  the  case  of  meat  condemned  on  or  after 
arrival  shall  in  no  case  exceed  the  sound  market  value,  less  usual  charges. 

9.  That    no    adjustment    charges  shall  be  incurred  unless  with  the  written 
consent  of  Underwriters  who  shall  not  be  liable  for  survey  fees  other  than  those 
of  their  own  surveyors. 

9A.  That  in  the  event  of  any  claim  for  loss  before  shipment,  or  for  damage  in 
consequence  of  which  the  meat  is  not  shipped,  the  same  shall  be  adjusted  on  the 
basis  of  the  actual  values  at  the  time  and  place  of  such  loss  or  damage  (plus  any 


1111     UNDER  WRITERS'   RISK  1 '» J 

freight  payable  whether  the  meat  bo  shipped  or  not,  and  charge*)  irrespective  of 
any  other  value  declared  in  the  policy. 

10.  The  insurance  COTCTS  low  from  defective  condition  of  the  meat  from  every 
cause  (except  bone-taint    and    improper  dressing,  cooling  and  freezing),  which 
shall  arise  daring  the  currency  of  the  insurance,  but  always  subject  to  the  Free  of 
Capture  and  Seizure  Clause. 

11.  Average  payable  if  amounting  to  3  per  cent,  on  each  carcass,  and/or  two 
half  carcasses,  and/or  four  haunches,  and/or  eight  legs   mutton  or  lamb,  and/or 
each  package  beef,  veal  or  pork,  and/or  each  valuation  separately,  and/or  on  the 
whole. 

12.  The  Underwriters  to  be  credited  with   any   compensation    or   allowance 
obtainable  from  the  Shipowner  in  respect  of  average  attaching  hereto. 

I:?.  It  is  hereby  agreed  that,  unless  expressly  otherwise  stated  herein,  carcasses 
or  pieces  comprised  in  any  one  mark  and  valuation,  or  carcasses  or  pieces  of  various 
marks  comprising  one  valuation,  shall,  for  purposes  of  average  adjustment,  be 
deemed  of  the  same  weight  and  insured  value. 

14.  Including  all  liberties  as  per  Bills  of  Lading  or  Contract  of  Affreightment 
(subject  to  additional  premiums,  if  any,  as  per  tariff)  but  it  is  warranted  that  the 
obligation  of  the  Shipowner  to  provide  a  seaworthy  vessel  fit  to  carry  the  cargo 
shall  be  fully  preserved  in  such  Bills  of  Lading  or  Contract  of  Affreightment. 

15.  General  Average  and  Salvage  Charges  payable  as  per  foreign  statement  if  so 
claimed,  or  per  York-Antwerp  Rules  if   in  accordance  with    the    Contract  of 
Affreightment. 

I''-.  In  the  event  of  the  vessel  making  any  deviation  or  change  of  voyage,  it  is 
mutually  agreed  that  such  deviation  or  change  shall  be  held  covered  at  a  premium 
to  be  arranged,  provided  due  notice  be  given  by  the  Assured  on  receipt  of  advice 
of  such  deviation  or  change  of  voyage. 

17.  In  the  event  of  damage  notice  to  be  immediately  given  to  The  Salvage 
Association,  London. 

This  clause  is  now  the  basis  of  all  the  insurance  of  frozen  meat 
where  the  risk  starts  in  the  freezing  works.  There  are  other 
clauses  where  the  risk  starts  from  time  of  shipment,  but  that 
merely  alters  paragraph  1  of  the  clause.  In  other  clauses  in 
force  the  risk  terminates  at  ship's  side  on  ship's  arrival.  Para- 
graph 17  is  only  found  in  insurances  effected  at  Lloyd's ; 
where  the  insurance  is  effected  with  a  company,  notice  is  given 
to  the  company  direct.  As  to  how  long  this  clause  will  remain 
in  force  it  is  difficult  to  state.  Broadly,  the  clause  has  really 
been  in  force  with  the  insurance  companies  for  many  years. 
Although  within  the  last  eighteen  months  a  few  alterations 
have  been  made  by  them,  these  alterations  are  embodied  in 
the  A  1  Clause.  Many  of  the  insurances  effected  at  Lloyd's 
in  the  past  did  not  contain  such  stringent  clauses  as  are  now 
in  force,  and  it  may  be  that  in  order  to  obtain  business 
the  underwriters  will  revert  later  on  to  the  more  lenient  clauses, 


154     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

or,  alternatively,  traders  will  more  and  more  adopt  f.p.a. 
insurance  (i.e.,  against  the  ordinary  marine  risks)  plus  break- 
down of  machinery,  which  is  a  much  less  expensive  method 
of  insuring. 


Renunciation  of  the  Passive  Attitude. 

For  the  twenty-five  years  during  which  the  question  of 
insurance  has  been  a  burning  one  the  underwriters  have 
apparently  considered  that  claims  were  out  of  proportion  to 
the  damage.  Until  1909  they  made  little  effort  to  enforce 
practical  reforms  in  the  working  of  the  trade,  preferring  to 
cover  themselves  by  raising  rates  when  the  balance  was  on  the 
wrong  side.  But  in  the  new  clause  of  1909  this  passive  policy 
was  departed  from.  They  devoted  themselves,  with  a  view  to 
alteration,  particularly  to  the  consideration  of  the  system 
under  which  consignees  in  London  made  claims,  and  whilst,  of 
course,  recognizing  their  right  to  call  for  surveys  on  goods 
(this  is  done  now  practically  in  all  cases,  as  the  thirty  days' 
cover  often  runs  off  before  goods  are  taken  out  of  store,  and 
the  meat  owners  must  protect  themselves),  the  underwriters 
desired  to  cut  down  expenses  of  survey,  which  were  often  very 
heavy.  Their  new  scale  of  survey  fees  charged  from  June, 
1909,  was  10s.  6d.  per  500  carcasses,  21s.  per  1,000,  and  10s.  Qd. 
for  each  succeeding  1,000  ;  beef  quarters  double  the  above. 

Some  of  the  new  rules  introduced  in  this  clause  of  1909 
appear  somewhat  one-sided,  but  underwriters  evidently 
thought  the  position  required  a  firm  hand.  The  view  has  often 
been  expressed  that  underwriters  might  have  departed,  with 
great  advantage  to  insurers  and  insured,  from  their  laisser  faire 
attitude  ten  or  fifteen  years  earlier  by  endeavouring  to  check 
by  their  policy  clauses  any  faults  in  the  system  of  handling 
frozen  meat  which  affected  their  interests.  By  doing  so  they 
would  have  taken  their  part  in  the  building  up  of  a  correct 
system  and  helped  to  place  the  trade  generally  on  a  sound 
footing.  Now,  with  the  new  rules,  they  have  brought  up  the 
business  with  a  round  turn.  The  underwriters'  answer  to 
this  is  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  merchants  to  endeavour  to 


THE   UNDKKWUITERS'    KISK  l.Vi 

discover  means  whereby  their  goods  can  be  carried  efficiently, 
and  that  tlu-  underwriter  has  no  control  over  the  handling  of 
goods,  and  can  only  gauge  his  risk  by  losses  and  arrange  his 
pit  tiiiutn  accordingly.  But  the  warranties  in  the  A  1  Clause 
show  that  underwriters  can  exercise,  and  have  exercised,  a 
salutary  and  even  arbitrary  "  control  over  the  handling  of  the 
goods." 

The  incidence  of  damage  to  frozen  meat,  where  occurring, 
divides  itself  roughly  into  three  classes  :  first,  that  which  takes 
place  in  the  freezing  works  or  during  transit  to  the  ship ; 
secondly,  that  which  occurs  afloat  owing  to  faulty  refrigeration 
or  defective  insulation  of  the  ship's  holds  ;  and,  thirdly,  that 
occurring  ashore,  whether  it  be  during  discharge,  in  transit 
from  ship,  in  the  cold  stores,  or  in  the  general  process  of  trans- 
port, handling,  and  marketing.  Under  the  first  head,  losses  of 
late  years  have  been  greatly  reduced,  and  in  this  connection 
there  may  be  mentioned  a  point  which  the  shipowners  make, 
viz.,  that  very  frequently  in  commercial  and  official  statements, 
the  damage  occurring  to  parcels  of  meat  subsequent  to 
discharge  is  attributed  to  the  ship  which  carried  them.  The 
reason  why  this  is  done  is  because  the  shipowner  is  an  easier 
party  to  locate  than  one  or  other  of  the  various  interests 
subsequently  handling  the  meat ;  but  it  is  hard  on  the  ship- 
owner as  a  rule,  though  there  are  some  defective  ships  now, 
just  as  there  were  ten  years  ago,  and  also  easy-going  captains 
who  take  defective  meat  on  board. 

Three  Different  Views  of  Meat  Insurance. 
The  Shipowner's  View. — To  quote  the  shipowner's  own 
words,  ho  says  his  duty  is  to  carry  meat,  and  that  whatever 
happens  en  route  is  an  insurance  risk,  assuming  that  ho  has  done 
his  utmost  in  appointing  skilled  officers  and  engineers,  and  in 
having  his  refrigerating  plant  and  insulation  tested  and  passed 
by  Lloyd's  surveyors  representing  the  underwriters.  He  only 
charges  a  carrying  rate,  not  one  to  include  insurance.  The 
shipper  pays  the  insurance  premium  to  the  underwriter  to 
cover  the  risks  outside  actual  carriage  of  meat.  In  practice, 
the  latter  pays  the  insurer  the  loss,  in  case  of  damage,  and  then 


156    A   HISTORY    OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

attacks  the  shipowner  to  recover  the  money,  although  the 
latter  never  received  any  premium  for  insurance.  The 
negligence  of  the  shipowner's  servants  is  the  human  fallible 
element  which  cannot  be  guarded  against  entirely.  The  ship- 
owner inserts  a  negligence  clause  in  his  bill  of  lading,  and  he  says 
that  such  a  proviso  is  in  force  in  all  other  trades.  Under  such 
a  clause,  he  maintains,  the  ship  should  not  be  liable  for  damage 
to  frozen  meat,  subject  to  the  conditions  mentioned  above 
as  to  care  to  be  taken  by  the  owner.  He  maintains  that  the 
time  has  now  come  for  a  rearrangement — the  shipowner 
cannot  stand  the  strain.  He  says  it  is  unfair  that  the  under- 
writer who  takes  the  premium  should  put  this  risk  on  him. 
The  shipowner  is  willing  to  do  everything  reasonably  possible 
to  ensure  good  carriage,  but  he  says  that  there  is  some  point  at 
which  his  responsibility  should  cease.  He  would  like  to  have 
a  final  certificate  that  the  underwriter  accepts  the  steamer  as 
a  good  insurance  risk,  assuming  its  seaworthiness,  before  the 
meat  is  put  on  board.  Thus  he  wishes  to  define  the  point  at 
which  the  risk  of  the  insurer  begins,  he  and  the  shipowner 
taking  the  meat  at  carrying  rates,  and  the  underwriter  taking 
the  insurance  risks.  The  shipowner  suggests  that  the  under- 
writer should  pay  more  attention  to  the  circumstances  of  the 
trade  and  to  claims  relating  to  damage  after  the  goods  leave 
the  ship.  He  maintains  that  with  the  present  insulation  and 
duplicate  system  of  refrigeration  there  is  not  much  chance  of 
damage  to  meat  whilst  on  board.  He  proposes  that  two 
policies  should  be  issued,  the  one  operating  from  the  moment 
the  meat  is  received  from  the  works  till  delivered  ex  ship,  the 
other  (if  necessary)  for  the  risk  of  transit  and  store.  Theoreti- 
cally, this  suggestion  is  admirable,  but  it  is  not  workable,  as  it 
involves  the  survey  of  all  meat  as  landed,  i.e.,  before  passing 
under  the  second  cover — a  practical  impossibility. 

The  Underwriter's  View. — No  shipowner,  says  he,  has  been 
made  liable  for  any  meat  which  has  been  damaged  en  route, 
unless  it  has  been  shown  that  the  refrigerating  machinery 
has  not  been  in  a  fit  condition  to  perform  its  work  before  the 
cargo  was  put  on  board.  Small  claims  which  he  has  had  to 
meet  for  carcasses  being  dirty  through  his  men  or  stevedores 


TIM-.    1  \D1  It  WRITERS'   RISK  l r, 

trampling  over  them  are  rightly  made.  The  underwriter 
states  that  the  shipowner's  suggestion  that  the  underwriter 
should  pay  more  Munition  to  the  circumstances  of  the  trade, 
and  to  claims  relating  to  damage  after  the  goods  leave  the  ship, 
seems  to  be  entirely  outside  his  purview,  as  it  is  quite  certain 
that  lOr  any  damage  that  occurs  to  goods  after  they  leave  his 
ship  the  shipowner  is  not  responsible.  Speaking  broadly,  it 
appears  to  the  underwriter  that,  if  the  meat  is  shipped  in  good 
hard-frozen  condition,  and  the  ship's  machinery  does  its  work 
properly,  it  will  be  landed  in  good  order.  "  Instead  of  that, 
what  do  we  find  ?  "  the  underwriter  argues.  "  From  vessels 
arriving,  especially  from  Australia,  much  meat  lands  here 
badly  misshapen,  carcasses  are  found  in  some  cases  quite 
flattened  out,  off  colour,  and  otherwise  seriously  damaged. 
Probably,  this  damage  is  due  to  the  goods  being  shipped 
insufficiently  frozen.  But  if  the  shipowner  has  given  a  clean 
bill  of  lading  for  goods  that  are  shipped  soft  he  has  only 
himself  to  thank  if  he  is  held  to  blame." 

The  Merchant's  View. — As  regards  the  shipowner's  liability 
the  shipper  and  the  underwriter  have  much  the  same  stand- 
point. The  shipowner's  case  has  been  stated  in  his  own 
words,  likewise  the  underwriter's  ;  now  here  is  the  view  of  a 
merchant  engaged  in  the  frozen  meat  trade  :  "  In  the  carriage 
of  goods  by  land  and  sea  there  is  an  underlying  principle  that 
the  carrier  shall  provide  a  conveyance  reasonably  fit  and 
proper  for  the  work  required  of  it.  Whether  the  conveyance 
is  really  fit  and  proper  can  only  be  judged  on  completion  of  the 
voyage  or  journey  by  the  condition  in  which  the  goods  (signed 
for  as  in  good  condition  when  shipped)  are  handed  over  to 
the  receivers.  It  is,  therefore,  manifestly  unreasonable  for 
a  shipowner  in  the  case  of  frozen  meat  to  seek  to  free 
himself  from  all  liability  for  the  condition  in  which  the  meat 
arrives  at  its  destination.  If  steamers  were  surveyed  by 
thoroughly  competent  men  and  declared  to  be  in  a  fit  and 
proper  state  to  carry  frozen  meat,  the  shipowner  need  have 
little  fear  of  being  saddled  with  a  claim  for  damage,  provided 
reasonable  care  be  exercised  by  the  engineers  in  charge,  and 
even  then  he  is  amply  protected  by  the  '  negligence  '  clause  in 


158     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  bills  of  lading.  It  is  not  in  the  ordinary  business  of  an 
underwriter  of  goods  to  bear  the  shipowner's  obligations  as 
regards  seaworthiness.  Such  risks  can  be  insured,  and,  if 
the  shipowner  feels  that  these  obligations  are  more  than  he 
can  stand  by,  it  is  for  him  to  take  steps  to  insure  against  his 
own  liability  and  not  try  to  force  the  shipper  into  doing  so." 

The  Appeal  to  the  Courts. 

This  radical  difference  in  point  of  view  as  between  the 
carrier  and  the  insurer  of  frozen  meat  is  as  sharp  to-day  as 
fifteen  years  ago.  The  shipowner,  having  done  his  best  to 
provide  a  seaworthy  and  "  meatworthy "  vessel,  proceeds, 
where  possible,  to  contract  himself  out  of  liability  for  damage 
that  may  occur  on  board  by  special  clauses  in  his  bill  of  lading. 
He  cannot  do  this  now  with  regard  to  Australia,  because  in 
December,  1904,  the  Commonwealth  Sea  Carriage  of  Goods  Act 
was  assented  to.  Under  this  Act  all  clauses  in  bills  of  lading 
whereby  the  ship  or  owners  are  relieved  of  liability  for  loss  or 
damage  to  goods  occurring  on  the  ship  arising  from  faulty  con- 
ditions or  negligence  of  employees  are  rendered  null  and  void. 
This  sweeping  measure  settled  the  question  for  Australian 
exporters,  as  the  Act  applies  to  ships  carrying  goods  from 
Australia  to  places  outside  Australia.  The  measure  had  its 
origin  probably  in  the  celebrated  Nairnshire  case,  in  which  the 
shipowner  contended  that  his  bill  of  lading  covered  him  against 
loss  arising  from  any  defects  that  may  have  existed  in  the  vessel 
previous  to  the  loading  of  the  meat.  This  case  was  carried 
to  the  House  of  Lords  and  went  against  the  shipowner. 

Frozen  Meat  Insurance  Details. 

In  the  early  days  when  insuring  meat  was  a  new  and  un- 
popular risk  (it  was  from  the  first,  and  is  now,  unpopular  on 
account  of  the  numerous  losses  made)  the  premiums  charged 
were  very  high  ;  805.,  865.,  and  90s.  per  cent,  were  not  unknown 
in  the  New  Zealand  trade.  Then  premiums  were  lowered  to 
80s.  and  70s.  per  cent.,  at  which  figure  they  stood  for  a  long 
time.  About  ten  years  ago  rates  were  lowered  to  65s.  and  60s. 


I  III      I   \l)l  \(\\  KIT!  !{-'    RISK 

Up  to  that  period  the  business  had  been  done  by  companies, 
both  in  London  and  New  Zealand;  when  Lloyd's  took  up 
insuring  frozen  meat  at  the  end  of  the  nineties,  premiums  fell. 
From  then  onwards  rates  have  gradually  fallen,  with  40*. 
as  a  minimum  for  mutton.  Premium  rates  have  stiffened 
for  some  time  past  owing  to  underwriters  having  suffered 
loss  through  the  secondary  risk,  the  loss  of  vessels.  There  is 
now  little  elasticity  in  rates,  and  but  slight  differentiating 
between  firms,  ships,  freezing  works,  etc.  A  great  deal  of  meat 
insurance  is  done  in  New  Zealand  by  the  local  insurance 
companies,  but  Lloyd's  have  the  greater  part  of  the  Australian 
business  as  well  as  most  of  the  South  American  connection. 
The  large  works  in  Argentina  have  floating  policies  both  with 
Lloyd's  and  the  companies.  The  Thames  and  Mersey,  Com- 
mercial Union,  Indemnity  Marine,  Ocean  Marine,  and  other 
British  and  foreign  offices  handle  a  great  amount  of  frozen 
meat  insurance. 

Consignees  of  meat  often  elect  to  insure  f.p.a.,  but  the 
more  general  plan — almost  invariably  so  in  the  c.i.f.  trade- 
is  to  have  the  ordinary  "  all  risks  "  policy.  This  policy  has 
the  special  frozen  meat  clause  (already  set  forth  in  this  chapter) 
attached  to  it ;  this  does  not  cover  bone-taint.  Usually,  how- 
ever, insurance  starts  at  the  freezing  works,  including  freezing 
risks,  all  sea  risks,  and  continues  until  30  or  60  days  after  the 
meat  is  stored.  In  the  last  conference  clause  bone-taint  and 
improper  dressing  are  specially  excluded.  Lloyd's  A  1  Clause, 
"  Freezing  works,  voyage,  and  sixty  days,"  gives  a  list  of 
stores  at  English  ports  where  the  meat  can  be  discharged ; 
90  per  cent,  of  Australasian  frozen  meat  is  carried  under  this 
clause.  The  premium  for  this  risk  has  been  lately  about  45a. 
per  cent,  on  approved  covers.  F.p.a.  cover,  including  break- 
down of  machinery,  is  issued  at  about  25s.  per  cent. ;  such  a 
policy  would  be  for  the  voyage  only,  the  shipper  giving  a 
warranty  that  the  meat  was  in  sound  condition  when  put 
aboard.  A  risk  adopted  by  one  of  the  leading  New  Zealand 
freezing  companies  is  to  cover  75  per  cent,  only  of  the  goods 
against  all  risks,  for  which  they  pay  about  40*.  per  cent. 
They  reinsure  the  25  per  cent,  balance  f.p.a..  including 


160     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

breakdown  of  machinery,  at  15s.  per  cent.  An  increasing  vogue 
in  the  New  Zealand  meat  export  trade  is  to  cover  total  loss  of 
vessel  only,  which  can  be  done  for  about  7s.  Qd.  per  cent. 

The  mutual  clubs  formed  amongst  shipowners  for  the  pooling 
of  losses  have  included  the  frozen  meat  risk.  These  clubs  have, 
however,  considered  the  suggestion  that  losses  falling  upon  the 
owners  resulting  from  frozen  meat  carriage  should  be  excluded, 
because  of  the  heavy  drafts  upon  them  in  connection  with  law 
cases — these  cases  were  fought  by  the  clubs. 

The  suggestion  has  been  put  forward  by  merchants  and 
shippers  in  Australasia  and  England  that  underwriters  should 
charge  differential  rates  for  insuring  frozen  meat  according  to 
the  records  of  individual  vessels  in  the  "  refrigerated  fleet  "  for 
conveying  meat  well  or  imperfectly.  But  such  a  proposal  is 
not  workable,  some  merchants  argue,  and  any  attempt,  they 
say,  to  carry  it  out  would  introduce  all  sorts  of  complexities 
into  the  business.  But  it  is  already  done  every  day  in 
connection  with  ordinary  cargo  insured  f.p.a.,  and  does 
come  into  operation  to  that  extent  in  "all  risks  "  cover. 
As  it  is,  frozen  meat  rates  vary  on  the  different  shipping  lines. 

The  Surveyor's  Duties. 

The  needs  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  have  called  into 
existence  the  surveyor,  who  is  required  to  possess  special 
experience  in  the  meat  business  and  knowledge  of  refrigeration 
and  cold  storage.  The  surveyor  makes  his  appearance  on  the 
scene  when  the  consignee  of  a  parcel  of  meat  calls  for  a  survey 
on  it.  This  survey  takes  place  in  the  presence  of  two  surveyors, 
acting  respectively  for  the  importer  and  the  underwriter. 
They  go  to  the  store  and  inspect  a  percentage  of  the  meat, 
usually  10  per  cent.,  sometimes  more.  Occasionally  small  parcels 
are  found  without  blemish,  but  in  a  large  consignment  it  is 
difficult  to  escape  some  cases  of  injury,  and  an  allowance  is  made, 
at  so  much  per  Ib.  on  so  much  per  cent,  of  the  whole,  according 
to  the  results  of  the  investigation  of  the  percentage  examined. 
The  surveyors  aim  at  doing  no  more  than  to  compensate  the 
owner  for  the  difference  between  the  selling  value  of  his  damaged 


HIE   UNDERWRITERS'   RISK  161 

meat  and  its  Bound  value.  This  is  the  practice  with  regard  to 
the  great  bulk  of  Australasian  meat  landed  in  London.  In  the 
oases  of  some  large  importers  handling  their  own  goods,  the 
underwriters  accept  their  claims  made  upon  all  the  rejected 
carcasses  of  any  shipment  without  question  ;  such  claims  are 
baaed  on  the  condition  of  the  meat  and  the  market  prices  of 
the  day. 

Classes  of  Damage. 

The  most  serious  form  of  damage  to  frozen  meat  in  transit 
for  which  claims  are  made  on  the  underwriter  is  that  which 
arises  from  the  ordinary  sea  perils,  such  as  vessels  stranding, 
collisions,  etc.  When  such  disasters  happen,  they  involve  heavy 
claims,  especially  if  sea  water  gets  into  the  meat  holds  :  meat 
which  has  suffered  in  this  way  makes  a  "  bad  salvage."  Rarely 
nowadays  have  claims  to  be  made  on  account  of  breakdown 
of  machinery,  although  claims  were  not  uncommon  in  the 
early  days  of  frozen  meat  transit.  All  vessels  now  engaged 
in  carrying  frozen  and  chilled  meat  have  their  refrigerating 
machinery  in  duplicate.  The  risk,  therefore,  from  breakdown 
is  very  slight. 

The  classes  of  minor  damage  for  which  the  underwriters  have 
to  pay  under  the  circumstances  just  set  forth  are  as  follow  : 
(1)  "off  colour";  (2)  misshapen;  (3)  stained,  torn,  and 
broken  carcasses,  brine-stained  carcasses,  bone  taint  (as  a 
rule  this  damage  is  not  included),  dirty  carcasses,  mould.  Bone 
taint  is  practically  confined  to  beef ;  at  one  time  it  affected 
mutton,  too.  It  is  found  in  beef  from  Australia,  New  Zealand, 
and  Argentina.  Nos.  1  and  2  are  caused  by  the  carcasses 
getting  soft  at  some  stage  after  leaving  the  freezing  works  ; 
dirty  carcasses  come  from  bad  stevedore  work  in  loading  and 
discharging  ;  torn  and  broken  carcasses  are  the  result  of  mis- 
handling ;  and  brine-stained  meat  (which  is  condemned  by  the 
sanitary  authorities)  results  when  leaking  pipes  drip  on  to 
the  carcass.  Though  the  underwriters  have  taken  no  action  to 
prevent  the  use  of  unduly  low  temperatures  in  the  holds  of 
meat-carrying  ships,  their  surveyors  hold  strong  views  on  the 

F.M.  M 


subject.  From  15°  to  17°  F.  is  considered  by  them  to  be  the 
ideal  temperature  on  land  or  sea  for  holding  meat  in  a  frozen 
state.  An  exceedingly  dry  atmosphere  accompanies  tempera- 
tures at  or  approaching  zero  F.,  at  which  meat  has  been  carried 
sometimes,  and  this,  surveyors  say,  draws  moisture  from  the 
meat,  rendering  it  "  off  colour  "  and  dull,  besides  causing  need- 
less loss  in  weight.  Many  importers  believe  that  more  damage 
of  this  kind  is  done  by  frequent  and  considerable  variations  of 
freezing  temperature  than  by  a  very  low  temperature  kept 
fairly  constant. 

A  special  risk  attending  the  transit  of  chilled  beef  may  be 
glanced  at.  This  is  where  the  rods  by  which  the  beef  quarters 
are  suspended  break,  through  the  straining  of  the  vessel  or 
from  some  other  cause.  The  meat  is,  of  course,  injured  owing 
to  its  falling  in  a  heap  on  the  floor.  It  is  a  moot  point,  in 
considering  underwriters'  liability,  whether  the  said  rods  can 
be  considered  part  of  the  refrigerating  machinery  of  a  vessel, 
and,  therefore,  what  party  has  to  bear  the  loss  caused  by  such 
accidents.  This  chapter  may  be  concluded  by  drawing  atten- 
tion to  the  risk  of  damage  occurring  through  barges  conveying 
frozen  meat  to  the  up-town  stores  colliding  with  other  craft. 


CHAPTER    XI 

COLD   STORAGE 

ONE  of  the  most  important  branches  of  the  frozen  produce 
trade  is  that  connected  with  the  cold  store  or  refrigerating 
warehouse,  which  forms  one  of  the  main  and  strongest  links  in 
the  chain  of  industries  uniting  the  pastures  of  the  producing 
countries  with  the  consumer's  table,  the  ultimate  destination  of 
the  food  produce.  The  chilling  or  freezing  store  which  forms 
an  adjunct  of  the  freezing  works  at  the  point  of  production  is 
not  the  subject  of  this  chapter,  but  rather  the  storage  depot  at 
the  receiving  and  marketing  end,  wherein  the  frozen  meat  is 
deposited  for  a  longer  or  shorter  time  after  the  vessels  have 
discharged  their  burden  at  the  ocean  docks.  The  storekeeper 
owes  his  business  entirely  to  the  growth  of  this  overseas  trans- 
port, the  beginning  of  which  was  seen  in  the  memorable  pioneer 
voyage  of  the  Strathleven.  The  cold  storekeeper  is  a  product 
of  the  industry.  As  a  rule,  the  shipowner  gives  up  only  part 
of  his  space  to  the  carriage  of  frozen  produce,  but  frozen  meat, 
butter,  fruit,  etc.,  are  the  storekeeper's  all  in  all.  The 
business  he  does  in  the  preservation  of  hops,  furs,  etc.,  though  a 
considerable  one  if  reckoned  separately,  shrinks  to  small  pro 
portions  if  compared  with  his  "  legitimate  "  trade,  that  of  the 
storage  of  food  produce.  The  pioneers  of  the  frozen  meat 
trade  and  their  representatives  in  London  and  Liverpool  had 
no  conception  of  the  gigantic  and  highly  organized  institution 
which  the  modern  cold  store  was  to  become.  In  their  tentative 
way  they  shipped  forward  their  meat  for  marketing  in  London, 
holding  very  modest  views  as  to  the  future,  and  having  no 
fixed  ideas  as  to  the  necessity  of  an  intermediate  stage  between 
ship  and  mart.  The  pioneers  who  survive  and  can  carry  their 
in  in  *  Is  back  clearly  to  1880  must  marvel  when  they  contemplate 
present  day  figures  of  the  cold  storage  industry  in  the  United 

M  2 


164    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Kingdom.  In  London  alone  the  public  cold  stores  have  a 
total  capacity  of  2|  million  carcasses,  or,  roughly,  about  a 
quarter  of  the  cubic  space  occupied  by  a  whole  year's  imports 
of  frozen  meat  into  the  metropolis. 

The  first  experiment  in  cold  storage  at  the  London  Docks  was 
an  installation  made  for  the  American  trade  (which  began  in 
1874).  It  was  a  store  in  which  there  was  a  guttering  round  the 
top  to  hold  ice.  The  first  mention  of  public  cold  stores  in 
London  occurred  in  a  paragraph  in  the  City  Press  of  June  19, 
1880.  Therein  it  was  reported  that  at  a  Corporation  meeting 
it  was  agreed  to  let  to  Mr.  Stevenson  Nos.  7  to  12,  Market 
Buildings,  Charterhouse  Street,  for  a  "  refrigerated  store  "  for 
twenty-one  years  from  Midsummer,  1880,  at  £1,000  a  year. 
A  condition  of  the  tenancy  was  that  the  market  toll  on  meat 
entering  Smithfield  was  to  be  paid.  A  Mr.  Judd  is  reported  to 
have  opposed  the  lease,  arguing  that  it  was  against  public 
morals  to  do  anything  which  would  prevent  the  getting  rid  of 
perishable  meat  as  quickly  as  possible.  "  The  Court  should, 
therefore,  be  careful  not  to  start  or  encourage  a  new  industry 
for  preserving  that  in  which  decay  has  taken  place."  Probably 
this  movement  for  a  store — which  came  to  naught,  at  least 
for  the  time — was  engineered  by  the  market  salesmen  who  were 
interested  in  the  success  of  the  Strathleven  venture  and  by  the 
interests  in  the  City  concerned  in  the  enterprise. 


The  Dock  Stores. 

No  architectural  skill  was  lavished  on  the  first  cold  store  in 
London,  that  at  A  Jetty,  Victoria  Dock,  which  was  then  the  pro- 
perty of  the  London  and  St.  Katharine  Docks  Co.  (later  amal- 
gamated with  the  East  and  West  India  Docks  Co.  as  the  London 
and  India  Docks  Co.).  The  company  was  pressed  in  1881  by  its 
Australian  friends  to  receive  and  store  frozen  meat,  and  in  the 
following  year  the  first  cold  store  opened  in  London  was  work- 
ing. It  was  considered  that  an  underground  vault  was  most 
suitable  for  holding  the  temperature, and  such  an  apartment  was 
fitted  up.  A  small  machine  was  supplied  by  Messrs.  J.  and  E. 


COLD  STORAGE 

Hall,  and  the  capacity  of  this  store  was  only  equal  to  600  sheep. 
It  was,  however,  soon  considerably  increased. 

A  very  interesting  description  of  the  first  provision  of  cold 
storage  accommodation  by  the  London  and  St.  Katharine 
Docks  Co.  was  given  by  Colonel  B.  H.  Martindale,  C.B.,  R.E., 
general  manager  of  that  company,  in  the  course  of  the 
discussion  of  a  paper  "  On  Refrigerating  and  Ice-making 
Machinery  and  Appliances,"  read  by  Mr.  T.  B.  Lightfoot 
before  the  Institution  of  Mechanical  Engineers  in  1886.  This 
paper,  by  the  way,  is  one  of  the  only  two  papers  on 
refrigeration  ever  read  before  that  Institution,  both  being 
contributed  by  Mr.  Lightfoot.  Colonel  Martindale  on  that 
occasion  said  he  had  been  connected  for  the  past  five  years 

"with  the  practical  working  of  arrangements  for  preserving  refrigerated  meat 
from  the  Colonies  on  perhaps  the  largest  scale  that  had  ever  been  carried  out  in 
England.  In  1881  the  dock  company  were  pressed  by  some  of  their  Australian 
friends  to  make  arrangements  for  receiving  frozen  meat  and  storing  and  distributing 
it.  They  began  necessarily  on  a  very  small  scale.  Happening  to  have  under  one  of 
their  warehouses  a  large  vault  about  600  feet  long  divided  longitudinally  into  four 
arches,  each  16  feet  wide,  they  made  use  of  part  of  it  for  their  storage.  They  began 
with  a  small  engine  obtained  from  Messrs.  Hall,  of  Dartford,  delivering  10,000  cubic 
feet  of  cold  air  per  hour  ;  and  that  engine  did  good  work  until  1884,  when  it  was 
removed  to  make  room  for  a  larger  one.  They  gradually  increased  the  number  of 
their  cold  storage  chambers,  until  they  had  now  got  56  chambers  in  two  vaults. 
The  smallest  chamber  bad  a  cubic  content  of  2,273  feet,  and  the  largest  of  9,280  feet, 
the  total  content  of  the  56  chambers  being  something  over  183,000  cubic  feet.  It 
was  found  that  the  carcasses  averaged  in  weight  56, 60,  and  72  Ibs.,  and  if  the  cham- 
bers could  be  completely  filled  they  would  hold  about  59,000  sheep  of  the  first 
weight,  56,000  of  the  second,  and  44,000  of  the  third.  But  in  practice  a  space  had 
to  be  left  for  gangways,  and  for  separating  different  marks,  especially  in  consign- 
ments from  New  Zealand  ;  and  a  proportionate  deduction  had,  therefore,  to  be  made 
from  what  could  otherwise  be  stored.  Still  the  chambers  could  always  store  about 
44,000  sheep,  taking  the  shipments  as  they  chanced  to  arrive.  The  construction  of 
the  chambers  had  varied  a  little  in  detail.  The  last  chambers  that  had  been  built 
had  been  constructed  according  to  the  recommendation  of  Mr.  Haslam,  of  Derby. 
On  the  original  concrete  floor  of  the  vault  there  was  placed  a  longitudinal  layer  of 
1  J-inch  rough  boards,  on  which  were  laid  transverse  bearers,  4  J  inches  deep  by  3  inches 
wide  and  21  inches  apart.  On  these  bearers  was  laid  a  2}-inch  batten  floor,  grooved 
and  tongucd.  The  sides  and  roof  were  constructed  with  5J  by  3-inch  uprights,  fixed 
on  the  floor  bearers.  On  these  uprights  there  was  an  outer  skin  of  2-inch  boards, 
and  an  inner  skin  formed  by  two  thicknesses  of  1  J-inch  boards,  between  which  was 
a  thickness  of  specially  prepared  brown  paper.  The  6J-inch  space  between  the  inner 
and  outer  skins  of  the  sides  and  roof  and  the  4  J-inch  space  between  the  floor  and 
rough  boards  were  filled  with  carefully  dried  wood-charcoal.  All  the  boards  were 
finished  to  a  uniform  thickness  and  were  grooved  and  tonguod.  Cold  air  was  con- 
veyed by  wooden  trunks  from  the  refrigerating  machines  into  the  chambers,  entering 


166     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

them  at  one  end  close  to  the  roof,  and  being  drawn  off  at  the  other  end,  also  close 
to  the  roof,  by  return  air  trunks  leading  back  to  the  refrigerating  machines.  From 
the  quantity  of  snow  made  by  the  engines,  the  air  trunks  had  to  be  cleared  out 
erery  twenty-four  hours,  and  the  engine  snow-boxes  about  every  four  hours." 

Subsequent  to  the  establishment  of  the  stores  mentioned, 
the  East  and  West  India  Docks  Co.  provided  stores  upon  two 
floating  hulks,  the  Seawitch  and  the  Robert  Morrison  ;  these 
craft  together  stored  15,000  sheep,  and  they  were  moved  from 
dock  to  dock  as  required,  one  of  them  also  making  a  trip  with 
a  cargo  of  meat  from  London  to  a  French  port.  These  floating 
stores  were  folio  wed  by  stores  situated  on  land  in  the  South  West 
India  Dock,  with  a  capacity  of  14,000  sheep,  and  it  is  said  the 
company  then  felt  that  all  the  requirements  of  the  trade 
had  been  met.  Docks  policy,  however,  has  expanded  with  the 
trade,  and  the  development  of  the  docks  stores  has  kept  pace 
with  its  growth ;  the  500  carcasses  capacity  of  1882  have  become 
822,000  in  1911,  including  the  store  at  Smithfield.  The  dock 
companies  and  their  clients  always  emphasized  the  advantage 
of  storing  frozen  meat  at  the  point  of  discharge,  and  for  a  long 
time  after  the  start  of  the  trade  held  a  large  part  of  the  storing 
business.  The  development  of  cold  storage  as  a  public  service 
was  largely  due  to  the  companies,  and  their  schedules  of 
charges  and  regulations  form  the  basis  of  business  to  this  day 
to  a  great  extent.  The  dock  stores  were  taken  over  by  the  Port 
of  London  Authority  in  1909. 

The  Smithfield  Market  Store. 

About  1883  a  London  cold  storage  company  was  promoted 
and  duly  registered,  the  names  of  Messrs.  James  Anning, 
E.  Montague  Nelson,  Alfred  Seale  Haslam,  Ebenezer  Cayford, 
and  Alfred  Towers  being  associated  with  the  venture.  It  was 
styled  the  Dead  Meat  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  had  a  capital  of 
£100,000.  Messrs.  Cayford  and  Towers  had  been  granted  a 
lease  of  the  vaults  under  the  Poultry  Market,  and  these  it  was 
proposed  to  turn  into  a  cold  store  equipped  with  Haslam's  cold 
air  machinery.  The  Dead  Meat  Storage  Co.,  however,  did  not 
proceed  to  operations,  and  was  dissolved  by  notice  in  the 
London  Gazette  in  1890. 


<<>M)  STORAGE  167 

Tho  concession,  however,  was  taken  up  by  the  Central 
Markets  Cold  Air  Stores,  Ltd.,  a  company  formed  in  1884 
with  a  nominal  capital  of  £30,000.  Among  the  subscribers 
were  Messrs.  E.  8.  Moulder,  E.  Cayford,  Thomas  L.  Devitt, 
Joseph  Moore,  C.  E.  Green,  John  Bell,  and  Alfred  Towers 
(managing  director).  Mr.  E.  Penman  was  also  associated  with 
Mr.  Towers  in  the  management  of  the  store.  The  secretary 
was  Mr.  H.  E.  Kaye,  who  retired  in  1890  and  is  now  the 
manager  of  the  Blackfriars  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.  The  appear- 
ance of  the  names  of  so  many  important  shipowners  on  the 
subscribers'  list  of  this  cold  storage  company  is  interesting  as 
marking  early  recognition  by  the  Australian  shipowning 
interest  of  the  commercial  importance  of  the  coming  trade. 
The  company  was  wound  up  in  1901.  This  store,  that  is,  in 
the  vaults  under  the  poultry  section  of  Smithfield,  was  not 
a  success,  its  failure,  however,  being  by  no  means  due  to 
the  Haslam  refrigerating  machinery  installed,  which  worked 
well,  but  to  defective  insulation.  Adapting  the  peculiar 
conditions  of  these  underground  spaces  to  refrigerating  work  was 
probably  too  grave  a  problem  for  the  refrigerating  engineering 
knowledge  available  twenty  years  ago. 

In  1898  a  prominent  group  of  market  tenants  subscribed  the 
necessary  capital,  and  the  Smithfield  Market  Cold  Storage  Co. 
was  formed  to  take  over  this  property.  The  title  of  this 
company  was  in  the  following  year  altered  to  the  London 
Central  Markets  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  its  premises  at  that 
time  comprised  the  original  section  under  the  Poultry  Market 
and  the  imposing  building  erected  in  King  Street,  adjacent  to 
the  market  buildings.  A  few  years  later  this  company  acquired 
a  portion  of  the  Midland  Railway  Co.'s  depot  at  Poplar,  and 
completed  the  building  as  a  cold  store  with  an  entirely  new 
refrigerating  installation,  thus  adding  to  the  importance  of  the 
company  in  its  relation  to  the  service  for  the  Central  Markets 
by  having  a  dock  and  receiving  depot  upon  the  river  entirely 
at  its  command.  From  this  depot  at  Poplar  specially  con- 
structed insulated  motor  vans  reach  the  market  stores  in  one 
hour.  The  new  building  in  Charterhouse  Street  facing  the 
poultry  section  of  the  markets  was  acquired  in  1905.  These 


168     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

efficiently  equipped  stores  together  form  an  important  part 
of  the  London  cold  storage  system,  more  particularly  in 
relation  to  the  business  of  the  London  Central  Markets,  as 
they  are  actually  a  part  of  the  market  structure.  The  same 
company  has  recently  acquired  depots  at  Liverpool  (two), 
Nottingham,  and  Chesterfield.  Its  stores  have  a  capacity  of 
about  600,000  carcasses.  Mr.  J.  H.  Geddes  was  the  leading 
spirit  in  the  organization  of  these  stores,  and  he  remained 
managing  director  of  the  company  till  his  death  in  1908, 
Mr.  William  Hawkins  succeeding  him  in  that  position. 

Nelson  Brothers'  Stores  and  Depot. 

Messrs.  Nelson  Brothers,  who  had  been  using  the  dock  stores 
in  London  for  their  importations  of  frozen  meat  up  to  1885,  in 
that  year  opened  what  might  be  called  the  third  of  the  three 
pioneer  cold  stores,  in  the  arches  under  Cannon  Street  Railway 
Station,  and  the  effect  of  this  was  to  lower  charges  for  storage 
of  meat.  The  Tyser  Line  from  New  Zealand  to  London  started 
its  refrigerated  traffic  two  years  later,  and  the  competition 
set  up  reduced  freight  charges.  Little  experience  in  cold 
store  construction  was  available  in  those  days,  and  the  efforts 
of  architects  and  builders  in  this  connection  were  accordingly 
crude.  The  following  description  of  Nelson  Brothers'  early 
cold  store  is  interesting.  Under  Cannon  Street  Station  there 
was  a  central  arch  extending  from  Thames  Street  to  the  river, 
and  from  it  other  arches  ran  at  right  angles.  From  the  central 
arch  as  a  corridor  the  other  arches  were  closed  in  and  insulated. 
The  door  in  the  centre  of  each  arch  had  a  trapdoor  through 
which  carcasses  were  passed  into  the  chamber,  and  through 
which  they  were  delivered,  the  main  door  hardly  ever  being 
opened.  At  the  river  end  of  the  central  arch  was  a  landing 
platform,  alongside  which  barges  from  the  docks  were  unloaded  ; 
the  carcasses  were  passed  up  by  hand  into  trucks  and  run  along 
a  tram  line  to  the  chambers.  At  the  Thames  Street  end  were 
the  loading  platform,  scales,  and  offices.  Trucks  filled  at  the 
chambers  were  run  up  to  the  weighbridges  and  loaded  into 
market  and  railway  vans  for  the  country.  (This  store  was  in 
1898  sold  to  the  Union^Cold  Storage  Co.  and  re-modelled.) 


COLD  STORAC.l  Hi'.) 

As  Messrs.  Nelson  Brothers  found  the  Thames  Street  store 
inadequate  for  their  expanding  business — in  one  year  they  had 
handled  about  one  and  a  quarter  million  carcasses  and  50,000 
quarters  of  beef — the  firm  opened  additional  premises,  a  splendid 
c.  .1. 1  store  in  Commercial  Road,  Lambeth,  in  1892.  Sir  Frederick 
Bramwell  and  Mr.  H.  Graham  Harris  were  the  architects,  and 
the  definite  plan  on  which  these  stores  were  constructed  was 
that  formed  by  Sir  Montague  Nelson,  whose  proposition  was 
that  the  store  should  be  a  "  gigantic  tank  "  :  everything  was 
to  go  in  at  the  top  and  go  out  from  the  top.  This  idea  was 
rigidly  adhered  to.  The  "  tank  "  was  divided  into  floors,  but 
though  it  was  intended  that  these  floors  should  extend  from 
side  to  side  without  divisions,  the  building  regulations  of 
London  forbade  this,  and  a  dividing  wall  had  to  be  built  down 
the  centre,  cross  partitions  at  intervals  dividing  each  floor  into 
several  bays  with  fireproof  doors.  Even  the  upper  floor, 
intended  only  for  receiving  and  delivering  goods,  had  to  be 
similarly  divided,  even  to  the  iron  doors.  The  store,  exclusive 
of  the  cost  of  the  freehold,  cost  £150,000. 

This  store  was  opened  for  business  on  March  17,  1892,  and 
was,  and  is,  one  of  the  biggest  and  best-equipped  cold  store 
warehouses  in  the  world,  with  a  capacity  of  250,000  carcasses, 
equal  to  750,000  cubic  feet.  The  opening  of  the  establishment 
was  one  of  the  features  of  progress  in  the  1890 — 1900  period, 
a  time  of  such  great  expansion  in  the  frozen  meat  trade.  A 
feature  of  this  riverside  store  is  the  system  of  taking  delivery 
from  the  barges.  The  elevator  is  an  endless  chain  running  up 
by  the  side  of  the  building  and  working  between  the  upper  floor 
of  the  store  and  the  barges  down  in  the  bay.  The  carcasses 
are  placed  in  the  cradles  of  this  elevator,  which  is  lowered  so 
that  its  under  end  is  in  the  barge  ;  they  are  then  carried  by 
hydraulic  power  to  the  floor  and  dropped  on  to  the  sorting 
table.  When  the  elevator  deposits  its  frozen  carcasses  there, 
they  are  placed  in  little  iron  trucks,  all  of  equal  weight; 
the  trucks  are  lowered  to  the  chambers  and  the  meat  packed 
away.  This  method  is  expeditious  and  cheap,  and  saves 
handling  the  meat.  The  standing  instruction  to  the  men  at 
Nelson's  Wharf  is  to  "  handle  the  carcasses  as  if  they  are  eggs  "  ; 


this  care,  combined  with  as  little  handling  as  possible,  saves 
damage  and  consequent  insurance  claims.  These  stores  passed 
to  the  Colonial  Consignment  and  Distributing  Company  in 
1895. 

The  store  at  Nelson's  Wharf  was  designed  to  facilitate  the 
company's  country  business,  and  the  spacious  floors  are  used 
for  assembling,  packing,  and  despatching  the  frozen  meats 
distributed  throughout  the  Provinces.  Various  labour-saving 
appliances  are  used,  notably  cutting  machines  (Nelson-Dicks 
patents),  which  separate  the  parts  of  a  sheep  swiftly  and  evenly, 
ready  for  packing,  where  joints  are  required.  With  regard  to 
the  Smithfield  part  of  the  company's  business,  the  meat  is 
conveyed  by  van  to  the  Central  Markets  during  the  night. 
When  required  for  Smithfield  the  carcasses  are  repacked 
on  the  trucks,  raised  to  the  delivery  floor,  passed  over  a  weigh- 
bridge, then  on  to  a  lift,  and  lowered  to  the  loading  platform 
and  carried  into  the  vans.  Two  De  la  Vergne  ammonia  com- 
pression refrigerating  machines  and  one  Haslam  cold  air 
machine  are  installed,  the  Haslam  machine,  the  older  plant, 
being  used  only  occasionally.  There  are  nineteen  hydraulic 
lifts  and  hoists  and  ten  miles  of  refrigerating  pipes  in  the 
buildings.  There  are  five  storage  floors,  each  divided  into 
three  sections,  in  the  arrangement  of  which  the  "  bay  "  system 
is  used.  An  idea  of  the  working  facilities  may  be  gathered 
from  the  fact  that  a  cargo  of  50,000  carcasses  of  meat  has  been 
received  and  housed  in  less  than  four  days.  To  conclude 
reference  to  the  features  of  the  premises,  it  may  be  added  that 
recently  some  disused  cellars  were  turned  into  a  miniature  rifle 
range,  which  is  very  popular  with  the  staff. 

The  Union  Cold  Storage  Company's  Stores. 

The  group  of  cold  stores  owned  by  the  Union  Cold  Storage 
Co.,  Ltd.,  is  world-wide  in  its  ramifications.  There  are  stores 
at  London,  Liverpool,  Manchester,  Hull,  Glasgow,  as  far  as  the 
United  Kingdom  is  concerned,  and  in  connection  with  the 
Russian-Siberian  butter  export  business,  the  Union  Co.  has 
opened  large  cold  stores  at  St.  Petersburg,  Riga,  Kosloff,  and 


(OLD  STORAGE  171 

.  The  combined  capacities  of  the  Union  Co. 'scold  store* 
run  into  millions  of  carcasses,  and,  according  to  the  company's 
statement,  would  comfortably  hold  at  any  time  more  than  a 
year's  total  shipments  of  mutton  from  New  Zealand.  Indeed 
the  Union  cold  stores  grapple  with  a  storing  business  which  is 
by  far  the  largest  of  anything  of  this  nature  in  the  world — a 
notable  instance  of  the  pre-eminence  of  British  enterprise. 
Some  thousands  of  tons  of  ice  per  week  are  also  manufactured 
by  this  company. 

There  are  now  about  6,000  shareholders  in  the  Union  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  the  net  earnings  work  out  at  the  rate 
of  £2,000  per  annum  for  every  100,000  carcasses  storage 
capacity  (say  350,000  cubic  feet)  of  the  undertaking,  before 
taking  into  account  management,  head  office  expenses,  and 
depreciation.  The  Union  cold  stores  do  such  a  miscellaneous 
business  that  all  the  well-known  systems  of  refrigeration  are 
employed  and  the  machinery  of  most  of  the  principal  makers 
is  used.  The  capacity  of  the  refrigerating  machinery 
installed  at  the  company's  various  stores  exceeds  a  total 
refrigerating  power  of  3,000  tons  per  day  of  twenty-four 
hours.  The  company  began  operations  in  1893  in  Liverpool ; 
in  1896  their  first  London  store  was  started,  at  Blackfriars, 
and  by  rapid  strides,  as  the  result  of  the  closest  study  of 
all  the  problems  connected  with  the  new  industry,  the 
Union  cold  stores  grew  to  their  present  far-reaching 
establishment. 

Of  late  years  extension  of  the  Union  Co.'s  enterprise  has  for 
the  most  part  been  abroad,  except  in  the  direction  of  taking 
over  existing  cold  stores  in  England,  which  had  been  erected 
by  public  authorities  and  others.  Amongst  these  were,  about 
1898,  the  old  cold  stores  of  the  Colonial  Consignment  and 
Distributing  Co.,  under  Cannon  Street  Station,  London,  E.G., 
and  later  the  cold  stores  of  the  North  Eastern  Railway  Co.  at 
Hull  and  the  cold  stores  of  the  Scottish  Cold  Storage  and  Ice 
Co.,  Ltd.,  at  Glasgow.  During  1910  the  Union  Co.  acquired 
the  large  cold  stores  and  ice  factory  on  the  Albert  Dock 
belonging  to  the  Liverpool  Riverside  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd. ; 
this  had  been  run  by  a  group  of  local  merchants,  who  after 


172     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

more  than  ten  years  had  grown  weary  of  contributing  to  its 
running  expenses  without  receiving  dividends. 

Other  Cold  Stores :  London  and  Country. 

To  the  above  account  of  the  growth  of  public  cold  storage 
in  London  there  should,  to  make  complete  the  reference  to 
London  cold  stores,  be  added  mention  of  the  large  stores 
owned  by  the  several  meat  importing  companies,  e.g.,  Borth- 
wick's,  Eastman's,  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  the  River  Plate  Fresh 
Meat  Co.,  and  Sansinena's.  But  this  chapter  has  in  detail 
treated  alone  of  cold  storage  erected  for  the  use  of  the  public. 

It  is  evident  that  competition  in  the  public  cold  store  business 
is  running  fiercely  nowadays,  and  that  in  the  big  centres  of 
population  where  this  competition  exists,  only  those  cold 
storage  enterprises  which  are  erected,  equipped,  and  managed 
on  the  most  modern  lines  and  in  the  most  businesslike  way  can 
be  successful  commercially. 

The  meat  trade  has  been  mainly  responsible  for  the  growth 
of  public  cold  storage  in  the  various  towns  throughout  the 
Kingdom,  though  in  most  cases  the  public  store  owner  is  open 
to  receive  other  produce  than  meat.  There  are  now  over 
a  hundred  towns  provided  with  public  cold  storage,  and  about 
one  hundred  and  seventy  public  cold  stores  in  these  centres, 
establishments  of  a  capacity  from  one  or  two  thousand  up  to  two 
million  cubic  feet,  which  is  the  total  capacity  of  the  stores  at 
Southampton  of  the  International  Cold  Storage  and  Ice  Co., 
Ltd.,  the  biggest  cold  store  in  Europe.  Although  in  the 
majority  of  cases  the  stores  are  controlled  by  proprietors  or 
companies  trading  in  this  business  alone,  a  considerable  number 
of  the  stores  are  owned  by  individual  traders  or  trading 
companies  carrying  on  business  as  merchants  and  making  the 
provision  of  refrigerated  accommodation  for  others  an  auxiliary 
to  their  business.  Thirteen  towns  have  municipal  cold  storage. 


CHAPTER    XII 
THE  STOREKEEPERS'  DUTIES 

IT  will  have  been  seen  from  the  previous  chapter  that  the 
cold  storage  industry  which  has  been  built  upon  the  modern 
development  of  the  refrigerated  produce  trade  is  a  great  and 
complex  undertaking.  Some  explanation  of  the  various 
features  of  its  operative  customs  will  be  of  service  in  the  present 
chapter,  as  on  the  working  of  the  cold  store  depends  to  a  large 
extent  the  success  of  the  frozen  meat  industry. 

Periods  of  Storage. 

With  regard  to  the  cold  stores  at  the  ports  of  debarkation,  for 
it  is  with  those  establishments  that  this  chapter  deals,  space  is 
usually  arranged  for  at  the  stores  before  the  arrival  of  the  vessel, 
and  in  London  the  storage  charge  on  frozen  meat  begins  from 
the  time  the  steamer  breaks  bulk  with  her  meat  cargo.  The 
object  of icvery  consignee  is  to  take  delivery  of  his  meat  within 
the  first  month.  Speaking  roughly,  perhaps  75  per  cent,  of 
the  frozen  meat  in  the  London  cold  stores  is  marketed  within 
the  month.  At  any  rate,  it  changes  hands  within  that  period, 
but  this  question  is  solved  according  to  the  state  of  the  market ; 
at  times  meat  is  held  as  long  as  six  months,  and  even  more,  and 
nine  months'  storage  is  not  unknown.  Though  frozen  meat 
loses  its  bloom  and  also  weight  through  long  storage,  it  may  be 
marketed  in  fairly  sound  condition  even  after  such  lengthened 
storage.  There  was  a  case  fifteen  years  ago  of  10,000  Canter- 
bury lambs  being  "  bottled  up  "  for  six  months — as  a  market 
speculation.  The  carcasses  were  locked  up  in  a  chamber,  the 
doors  of  which  were  not  opened.  The  meat  stood  the  ordeal 
well,  and  a  profitable  deal  was  made.  In  April,  1909,  a  consign- 
ment of  New  Zealand  sheep,  23,000,  was  put  into  one  of  the 
London  stores  in  one  lot ;  the  carcasses  were  taken  out  in  the 


174     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

following  September  in  first-rate  condition.  Such  procedure, 
however,  is  risky,  the  ordinary  experience  being  that  six 
months'  freezing  makes  frozen  carcasses  bleach.  The  general 
question  as  to  how  long  frozen  meats  may  be  kept  in  cold 
store,  with  regard  to  loss  of  quality  and  appearance,  and  the 
structural  and  other  changes  which  take  place,  is  one  for 
scientific  men  and  trade  experts.  Experiments,  mainly  in 
poultry,  have  been  made  hi  England,  Australasia,  and  America ; 
essays  and  articles  without  number  have  been  penned,  yet 
there  is  still  to  seek  a  statement  sufficiently  clear  for  the  non- 
scientific  mind  to  grasp  and  explicit  enough  to  use  as  a  guide 
for  business  men. 


Reaching  the  Store. 

Much,  of  course,  depends  upon  the  conditions  attending  the 
actual  transit  of  meat  to  the  cold  stores.  In  the  case  of  up- 
town stores,  that  is,  the  refrigerating  warehouses  other  than 
those  connected  with  the  docks,  transit  is  made  by  insulated 
lighters  to  the  stores  situated  on  the  riverside,  and  by  insulated 
lighters  and  vans  to  those  situated  inland.  The  principal 
dock  stores  of  London  are  situated  in  the  Victoria  and  Albert 
Docks,  and  have  working  capacities  equivalent  to  552,000 
sheep.  So  far  as  concerns  the  stores  in  the  Victoria  and  Albert 
Docks,  some  of  the  meat  is  conveyed  thither  by  insulated 
lighters  from  the  Tilbury  Docks,  but  the  bulk  is  received  from 
steamers  discharged  in  the  docks.  The  principal  railways 
run  alongside  these  stores,  and  meat  is  delivered  direct  to 
railway  wagons  for  distribution  in  the  provinces.  Delivery 
is  also  made  at  night  for  the  market,  but  as  these  stores  are 
situated  at  a  considerable  distance  from  Smithfield,  orders 
must  be  given  some  hours  beforehand,  so  as  to  allow  time  for 
conveyance  and  delivery  into  the  market.  The  inconvenience 
experienced  in  these  arrangements  led  to  the  construction  of  the 
West  Smithfield  stores  belonging  to  the  Port  Authority,  which 
have  a  capacity  of  95,000  carcasses  (they  are  to  be  supplemented 
by  another  store  in  the  vicinity  of  a  capacity  of  84,000  car- 
casses), and,  being  adjacent  to  the  market,  permit  of  delivery 


I  ME  STOREKEEPERS'   DUTIES  176 

being  obtained  at  call.  Conveyance  to  the  West  Smithfield 
stores  is  usually  made  direct  from  steamers  by  insulated  vans. 
The  owners  of  the  meat  decide  on  the  arrival  of  the  steamers 
the  stores  into  which  they  require  their  shipments  placed,  and, 
of  course,  they  are  guided  to  some  extent  by  the  probable  dis- 
posal of  the  meat.  There  are  also  stores  in  the  West  India  and 
Surrey  Commercial  Docks. 

The  large  white  insulated  vans  that  convey  the  frozen  meat 
to  Smithfield's  portals  hold  about  120  sheep  ;  the  ordinary 
river  barges  take  from  1,000  to  1,200  sheep,  but  some  will  take 
considerably  more.  Meat  is  not  usually  weighed  on  delivery 
to  the  store,  but  when  it  is  sent  out,  and  there  is  occasionally 
an  intermediate  "  weighing  over  "  for  the  convenience  of  the 
customer.  On  meat  being  received  at  the  store,  the  first  thing 
to  do  is  to  stow  it  according  to  marks,  readily  accessible  for 
delivery. 

Marks. 

About  sixteen  years  ago  the  "  multiplicity  of  marks " 
trouble  became  acute ;  the  storekeeper  was  asked  to  keep 
separate  the  various  small  lots  of  carcasses  represented  by  the 
sub-marks — 50  sheep,  five  sheep,  and  so  on.  The  separation  of 
these  lots  involved  an  enormous  waste  of  storage  space,  and,  to 
meet  the  difficulty,  a  line  was  drawn  at  100  carcasses,  or  400 
pieces  of  mutton  or  lamb,  such  as  haunches,  legs,  and  shoulders, 
as  a  minimum.  Any  parcel  under  100  carcasses  or  400  pieces 
was,  and  is  now,  charged  one-third  additional.  Say,  for  example, 
the  charges  under  the  (old)  management  rate  of  20s.  tod.  a  ton  for 
twenty-eight  days  for  some  rent  on  50  sheep  amount  at  the 
usual  rates  to  £2  6s.  The  parcel  would  be  charged  one-third 
extra,  or  £3,  and  so  on,  and  the  same  practice  for  the  same  reason 
has  recently  been  extended  to  beef,  the  line  being  drawn  at  a 
pile  of  30  quarters. 

If  several  sub-marks  belong  to  one  consignee,  he  may  have 
them  piled  together,  in  order  to  avoid  the  one-third  extra 
charge,  but  the  marks  would  be  mixed,  and  would  be  delivered 
as  they  "  rose  from  the  pile." 

Frozen  beef  is  piled  in  store  similarly  to  mutton  and  lamb. 
Chilled  beef,  which  is  hung  on  hooks,  is  sent  to  the  cold  stores 


176     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

to  a  far  less  extent  than  frozen  beef,  but  with  the  greatly 
increased  importation  of  chilled  beef  from  South  America 
the  need  for  chilled,  as  opposed  to  frozen,  storage  has  increased. 
The  chilled  beef  steamers  are  used  as  stores  until  the 
balances  of  the  shipments  have  to  be  cleared,  according  to  the 
state  of  the  market.  There  are  chambers  for  chilled  beef  at 
the  Victoria  Dock  stores,  which  have  recently  been  increased 
from  a  capacity  of  1,000  to  about  4,000  quarters. 

Cold  Storage  Rates. 

Like  all  the  other  charges  in  the  frozen  meat  cycle,  the  cold 
store  rates  have  fallen  considerably  from  the  original  fd.  per  Ib. 
per  28  days  hi  the  very  early  days  of  cold  storage.  Accord- 
ing to  a  schedule  issued  by  the  docks  store  in  November,  1883, 
the  charges  were  as  follow  : — 


Receiving  from  ship,  conveying  to  stores,  rent  for  one  week 
and  delivery  was 

Rent  per  week  or  part  of 
a  week  after  one  week. 

When  a  parcel  consisted  of  less  than  1,000  carcasses  :  — 
For  the  first  400  or  less       
On  all  between  400  and  1,000      

When  a  parcel  consisted  of  1,000  carcasses  or  more  :  — 
For  the  first  1,000       
On  all  between  1,000  and  2,000  
On  all  in  excess  of  2,000      

Per  Ib. 
&<*• 

Per  Ib. 

£ 

&<*• 

^d.  \  For  any  portion  of 
fad.  /    the  consignment. 

Several  conditions  as  to  minimum  charges  were  set  out.  In 
July,  1884,  the  docks  store  rate  was  fixed  at  Sd.  per  carcass  for 
storage  for  forty-eight  hours  from  breaking  bulk  ;  "  when 
several  marks  are  imported  in  the  same  ship,"  9d. ;  rent  after 
forty-eight  hours,  l|d.  per  cwt.  per  day.  Weighing,  "  if 
required,"  was  charged  for  at  |rf.  per  carcass.  In  March,  1891, 
the  "  management  rate,"  $d.  per  Ib.  (20s.  9d.  per  ton),  came 
into  force,  and  practically  no  change,  except  the  application 
of  the  one- third  additional  charge,  as  already  explained, 
has  taken  place  in  twenty  years.1  After  twenty-eight  days' 
storage  the  rent  is  now  fd.  per  cwt.  per  day,  but  with  the 
proviso  that  the  rent  to  be  charged  never  exceeds  ^d.  per  Ib. 

1  This  chapter  was  written  before  the  labour  troubles,  and  the  rise  in  wages 
which  followed  in  1911  caused  an  increase  in  the  20s.  9d.  management  rate.  It  is 
possible  that  in  1912  the  question  of  cold  storage  charges  at  the  docks  will  be  revised. 


THE  STOREKEEPERS'  DUTIES  177 

for  any  period  of  twenty-eight  days  on  the  gross  weight  in 
store  on  the  first  day  of  such  period.  This  charge  prevails  at 
all  tho  London  public  cold  stores.  The  warehouse  keeper  is 
hi  MI i id  to  cover  himself  by  making  a  substantial  charge  for  the 
first  month,  even  though  the  meat  may  only  stay  in  store  for  a 
day,  for  he  has  to  pay  conveying  from  ship  to  store  and  various 
other  items.  The  competition  which  brought  about  that  reduc- 
tion in  1891  in  the  London  cold  storage  rates  (we  have  seen  the 
same  force  at  work  in  the  freezing  and  shipping  charges)  seems  to 
have  ceased — at  least  so  far  as  the  occurrence  of  further  reduc- 
tions is  concerned — with  the  establishment  of  the  existing 
"  management  rate."  Up  to  1898  demand  for  cold  storage  was 
greater  than  the  supply,  but  in  that  year  cold  storage  space  got 
ahead  of  requirements.  A  "  combine,"  or  working  arrange- 
ment of  some  sort,  was  arranged  between  the  London  stores  in 
1899,  and  under  this  the  proprietors  have,  except  for  a  short 
period  in  1906,  been  able  to  prevent  the  $d.  per  Ib.  being  reduced, 
and  in  this  respect  all  the  cold  stores  are  worked  on  the  same 
lines.  There  was  a  breakdown  of  the  London  "  combine  "  at 
the  beginning  of  1906,  and  until  a  fresh  arrangement  was  made, 
after  three  months  of  civil  war,  there  was  a  period  of  severe  rate 
cutting  ;  goods  were  accepted  at  as  low  as  10s.  a  ton.  It  is 
obvious  that,  from  a  proprietor's  point  of  view,  the  public  cold 
stores  of  London  lend  themselves  to  combined  management  to 
prevent  ruinous  cutting  of  rates. 

Cold  Store  Dividends. 

The  cold  storage  industry  is  one  of  many  ups  and  downs,  a 
feast  or  famine  business.  In  some  seasons  the  stores  are  used 
mainly  as  depositories  for  frozen  meat  for  a  day  or  two  or  a 
week  or  two  before  marketing  ;  in  others,  great  quantities  of 
meat  are  "  bottled  up  "  for  months,  and  the  stores  become 
congested.  About  the  beginning  of  the  nineties  cold  storage 
was  a  paying  business.  During  the  previous  decade  the  frozen 
meat  trade  developed  heavily  in  supplies,  with  frequent 
seasons  when  the  market  was  unable  to  absorb  shipments  as 
they  came  along.  On  the  whole,  however,  only  modest  divi- 
dends have  been  earned  in  the  cold  storage  business.  The 

F.M.  u 


178    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

average  ordinary  dividend  for  1909  of  twenty  of  the  principal 
cold  storage  companies  in  the  United  Kingdom  was  slightly 
over  5  per  cent.,  and  would  have  been  appreciably  lower  than 
this,  did  the  calculation  not  include  three  particularly  successful 
concerns  whose  ordinary  dividend  averaged  15  per  cent.  The 
business  of  ice  manufacture  was  also  included  in  most  of  the 
companies  whose  dividends  formed  the  basis  of  this  calcula- 
tion. The  largest  stores  of  all,  those  of  the  Port  Authority  of 
London,  are  not,  however,  included,  because  no  separate 
returns  of  this  department  of  its  undertaking  are  issued  by 
the  Authority. 

In  1888  the  cold  storage  space  available  in  London  and  Liver- 
pool was  only  equal  to  the  accommodation  of  400,000  carcasses, 
and  in  1894  London's  cold  stores  could  only  hold  500,000. 
From  that  date  cold  store  construction  went  ahead  rapidly. 
In  1895  the  capacity  of  the  cold  stores  of  London  was  equal  to 
1,000,000  carcasses,  in  1900  to  1,648,000  carcasses,  in  1905  to 
2,631,500  carcasses,  in  1911  to  2,840,000  carcasses.  Readers 
consulting  Appendix  V  will  observe  that  the  available  storage 
space  at  the  chief  ports  of  Great  Britain,  other  than  London, 
is  equal  to  accommodating  5,124,500  carcasses.  For  the  last 
ten  years  or  so  storage  space  has  been  readily  obtainable  in 
London,  with  the  exception  of  1909,  a  year  of  low  values  and 
heavy  storage,  when  for  some  weeks  the  stores  were  congested  ; 
for  four  or  five  days  in  August  they  were  absolutely  full. 

The  chief  problem  which  a  cold  store  proprietor  has  to  solve 
is  how  to  keep  his  store  as  full  of  produce  as  possible.  (In  these 
remarks  only  the  frozen  meat  department  of  the  business  is  dealt 
with,  but,  of  course,  there  are  many  other  kinds  of  perishable 
merchandise,  stored  at  varying  temperatures.)  One  reason 
why  the  cold  storage  proprietor  likes  to  have  his  chambers 
full  of  frozen  produce  is  because  of  the  assistance  rendered  by 
the  goods  in  keeping  down  temperatures  ;  a  half-full  store 
requires  more  engine  power  than  does  a  full  one. 

Responsibilities  and  Risks. 

One  might  have  expected,  with  the  advance  of  cold  storage  to 
a  position  of  considerable  importance  among  the  mercantile 


THK   SKWEKEEPERS'  DUTIES  179 

industries  of  the  United  Kingdom,  especially  in  London, 
tint  some  legislation  would  have  accompanied  the  move- 
ment. A  good  many  nice  questions  must  arise,  but 
apparently  all  matters  causing  friction  between  cold  store 
customer  and  warehouse  keeper  are  settled  in  accordance  with 
the  customs  of  the  trade  that  have  gradually  encrusted  round 
t  In-  industry.  It  is  assumed  that  cold  stores  come  in  a  general 
way  under  the  Warehouseman's  Acts,  and  legal  proceedings 
concerning  the  responsibilities  of  proprietors  would  be  entered 
under  common  law.  The  custom  of  "general  lien,"  whereby,  in 
the  event  of  non-payment  of  cold  storage  charges,  a  cold  store 
owner  has  legal  claim  on  goods  held  (i.e.,  all  goods  held  by  the 
same  customer,  and  not  merely  on  the  specific  goods  in 
respect  of  which  charges  are  due),  was  formally  established 
in  the  cold  storage  industry  in  1902  by  the  Cold  Storage  and 
Ice  Association,  this  society  taking  the  necessary  steps  by 
public  resolution  and  advertisement. 

What  are  the  responsibilities  to  his  client  of  the  cold  store 
proprietor  ?  They  may  possibly  be  summed  up  as  follow. 
His  stores  are  inspected  by  the  underwriter's  surveyors, 
and,  if  passed,  are  certificated  as  "  approved."  All  the 
resources  of  modern  science  are  drawn  upon  in  the  construction 
of  the  buildings  and  the  installations  of  plant  and  appliances, 
and  a  skilled  and  efficient  staff  is  provided  to  work  the  business. 
The  meat  while  in  course  of  being  put  into  store  is  externally 
inspected,  while  here  and  there  a  shirt  is  cut  for  making  an 
internal  inspection,  and  any  imperfections  seen  are  recorded 
and  the  owners  informed  of  them  in  the  "  landing  account," 
or  earlier  if  necessary.  The  cold  store  does  not  hold  itself 
responsible  for  any  loss  of  condition  which  may  take  place  in 
meat  warehoused.  The  proprietor  provides  cold  air — at  about 
18°  F.  in  the  case  of  frozen  meat — and  he  keeps  temperature 
logs  day  and  night.  If  he  delivers  the  goods  for  which  he  has 
L'ivm  a  clean  receipt,  he  says  that  by  taking  reasonable  care 
he  has  done  all  that  can  be  expected  of  him.  Any  damage 
to  meat  in  store  is  the  merchant's  or  his  underwriter's,  not 
the  warehouse  keeper's,  concern.  Of  course,  if  too  high 
temperatures  were  proved  to  be  due  to  neglect,  that  would 

N  2 


180     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

be  a  different  matter,  but  the  ordinary  gradual  depreciation 
in  the  condition  of  meat  accompanying  storage  cannot  be 
insured  against  after  sixty  days. 

Meat  in  store  is  covered  by  the  marine  policy  current  for 
thirty  days,  occasionally  for  sixty,  and  before  this  runs  out  the 
underwriter's  surveyor  has  inspected  the  meat,  and  any  allow- 
ances for  damage  have  been  agreed  upon.  The  only  other 
store  risks  against  which  the  owner  of  the  meat  can  then  insure 
are  "  fire "  and  "  breakdown  of  machinery."  The  exact 
situation  is  stated  in  the  following  paragraph  from  the  docks 
cold  store  tariff  :  "  The  Port  Authority  will  not  hold  themselves 
responsible  for  the  condition  of  the  meat  stored  with  them, 
nor  for  any  loss  which  may  be  sustained  through  failure  of 
machinery  or  otherwise.  But  they  will  render  all  assistance 
in  their  power  in  the  investigation  of  any  question  which  may 
be  raised,  provided  that  the  meat  is  not  removed  from  the 
stores,  and  the  investigation  takes  place  on  the  same  day  as 
that  on  which  the  question  is  raised,  or  at  the  latest  on  the 
following  working  day." 

To  continue  this  part  of  the  subject  in  some  detail,  it  may 
be  useful  to  give  the  clauses  printed  on  the  receipt  form  of  one 
of  the  London  cold  store  companies  : — 

1. — The  Company  will  use  every  endeavour  to  keep  the  goods  in  sound  condition, 
but  will  not  be  responsible  for  loss  or  damage  to  goods  stored,  through  maintaining 
too  high  or  too  low  a  temperature  in  the  stores,  failure  of  machinery  or  plant,  fire, 
vermin,  or  any  other  cause  whatsoever  other  than  theft.  In  case  of  fire,  storage  is 
payable  to  date. 

2. — Goods  are  only  received  subject  to  a  general  lien  for  all  charges  accrued  and 
accruing  against  the  storer,  and  if  not  removed  after  seven  days'  notice  has  been 
given  to  the  storer,  or  sent  by  post  to  his  last  known  address,  may  be  sold  to  defray 
the  lien  and  all  expenses  incurred. 

3. — Transfers  are  allowed  subject  to  a  general  lien  on  the  goods  transferred  for 
all  sums  due  from  the  original  storer. 

4. — Where  the  Company  do  cartage,  it  is  understood  they  are  not  liable  for  any 
loss  or  damage  which  can  be  covered  by  Insurance,  and  those  interested,  in  taking 
out  Policy,  must  effect  same  without  recourse,  as  the  Company  do  not  accept 
responsibility  for  insurable  risks. 

5. — The  Company  will  not  be  answerable  for  any  delay,  loss  or  damage  arising 
from  combinations  or  strikes  of  any  persons  in  their  employ  or  in  the  service  of 
others,  nor  for  any  consequences  arising  therefrom. 

6. — The  Company  has  the  right  to  remove  from  the  premises,  if  necessary  with- 
out notice,  any  goods  found  to  be  of  an  offensive  nature,  or  such  as  will  damage 


THE  STOREKEEPERS'   DUTIES  181 

other  good*  in  the  •tore,  and  hai  the  right  to  remove  good*  to  other  cold  •tores,  if 
for  any  reaatm  they  find  it  advisable. 
7. — Content*  of  package,  and  condition,  unknown. 

Working  all  Round  the  Clock. 

One  of  the  storekeeper's  responsibilities  to  his  clients  in  the 
ordinary  way  of  business  is  the  delivery  and  weighing  of  goods 
of  specified  brand  at  any  hour,  day  or  night.  Sometimes 
notice  is  sent,  but  the  storekeeper  has  to  work  all  round  the 
clock  and  hold  himself  in  readiness  to  deliver  meat  on  demand. 
There  is  no  form  of  agreement  between  the  storer  and  the 
storekeeper  defining  the  responsibilities  of  the  latter  in  this 
and  other  respects ;  custom  controls  the  matter.  The  public 
cold-storekeeper  is  the  weighing  authority  ;  thousands  of  sales 
are  made  on  the  storekeeper's  weights,  which  in  ordinary 
business  transactions  are  regarded  as  final. 

In  connection  with  the  numerous  parcels  held  in  store, 
surveys  are  of  daily  occurrence,  and  facilities  are  provided  by 
the  proprietors,  inspection  chamber  accommodation  in  some 
cases  being  provided,  for  which  a  charge  is  made.  By  this 
inspection  is  meant  the  examination  which  is  nowadays  almost 
invariably  made  under  the  marine  policy.  In  the  noteworthy 
case  of  Kidman  v.  Blofeld  and  Lisenden,  tried  in  1903,  the  plain- 
tiff sought  to  show  that  it  was  customary  in  the  trade  for  holders 
of  meat  in  cold  stores,  whether  as  principals  or  agents,  to  have 
the  goods  "  inspected  from  time  to  time  with  the  view  of  ascer- 
taining their  condition."  In  this  case  the  meat  in  question 
was  seriously  depreciating  in  value  while  being  held  in  store 
for  a  market  by  the  shipper's  instructions.  The  judge  found  that 
the  alleged  practice  of  periodical  inspections  was  not  made  out. 

The  satisfactory  condition  of  frozen  meat  as  delivered  at 
Smithfield  or  elsewhere  from  the  London  cold  stores,  and, 
indeed,  from  the  well-managed  public  cold  stores  to  be  met  with 
in  all  parts  of  the  United  Kingdom,  speaks  well  for  the  system 
and  management  of  these  establishments.  The  keen  com- 
petition between  the  stores  and  the  close  observation  by 
importers'  and  underwriters'  surveyors  combine  to  produce 
excellent  results. 


CHAPTER  XIII 

THE   GREAT   SMITHFIELD   MARKET 

THE  London  Central  Markets,  from  that  fateful  day  in  Feb- 
ruary, 1880,  when  the  40  tons  of  frozen  meat  ex  Strathleven 
were  sold  at  5\d.  per  Ib.  to  the  present  time,  when  250,000 
tons  of  chilled  and  frozen  meat  are  handled  annually  at  the 
salesmen's  stalls,  have  played  an  all-important  part  in  the  rise 
of  the  frozen  meat  industry.  Smithfield  has  been  the  arbiter 
whose  verdict  the  farmers,  graziers,  and  estancieros  of  the 
lands  in  the  South  have  awaited  with  expectant  and  anxious 
feelings.  But  the  response  of  the  great  London  market  was 
never  in  doubt.  Whilst  the  producers  of  frozen  meat  have 
been  able  to  build  up  an  immense  trade  with  the  co-operation 
of  Smithfield,  the  salesmen  were  quick  to  perceive  what  bound- 
less possibilities  were  opened  up  to  them  with  the  coming  of  the 
refrigerator  and  the  transport  of  the  sheep  and  cattle  in  frozen 
form  from  the  Australian  runs.  So  they  welcomed  the  Strath- 
leven's  cargo  and  the  meat  from  New  Zealand  and  Argentina 
as  it  came  along  in  1882  and  1883. 

For  the  last  thirty  years  Smithfield  has  taken  the  frozen 
meat  trade  under  its  wing,  and,  the  greatest  of  markets  in  the 
greatest  of  cities,  has  impressed  the  imagination  of  the  Austra- 
lian and  New  Zealand  meat  exporters  to  a  remarkable  extent. 
No  institution  connected  with  the  realization  of  merchandise 
has  been  so  much  discussed  and  keenly  criticized  by  its  sup- 
porters as  has  Smithfield.  "  Smithfield  scandals,"  "  Smithfield 
rings,"  "  Smithfield  practices  " — these  and  other  topics  of  like 
nature  have  furnished  interesting  material  for  the  newspapers 
and  public  speakers  10,000  miles  away  full  many  a  time  and 
oft.  The  relations  of  the  great  market  and  its  customers  have 
provided  frequently  cause  for  friction,  and  Smithfield  itself 
often  comments,  in  no  gentle  tones,  upon  the  methods  of  her 


u 

!  * 

2 

I* 

II 

il 

j< 


_ 

It 


Si 


!•*     *    ^"* 

=  5£ 


THE  GREAT  SMITHFIELD  MARKET  is; 

Australasian  and  American  suppliers.  But  criticism  and 
recrimination  have  never  stayed  the  sailings  of  merchant 
vessels  laden  with  the  frozen  carcasses,  nor  checked  the  return 
flow  of  British  money  into  the  hands  of  the  sheep  and  cattle 
kings  of  the  southern  hemisphere ;  the  producer  in  Austral- 
asia and  the  salesman  at  Smithfield  are  necessary  to  each 
other. 

From  the  tentative  transactions  of  1879 — 1880  Smithfield  has 
moulded,  as  to  marketing  methods,  the  frozen  meat  trade, 
limb  by  limb  and  feature  by  feature ;  and  in  the  process  has 
itself  vastly  changed  and  developed.  For  instance,  though  for 
years  the  frozen  meat  trade  at  Smithfield  was  in  the  hands  of 
a  few  salesmen  and  jobbers,  now  not  less  than  200  parties — 
c.i.f.  men,  jobbers,  agents,  etc. — out  of  the  340  tenants  are 
engaged  in  this  branch  of  the  market's  business,  and  their 
number  is  constantly  on  the  increase.  Moreover,  the  large 
proportion  of  about  50  per  cent,  of  the  meat  handled  by  the 
great  multiple  meat  shop  concerns  is  frozen,  and,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  does  not  pass  through  Smithfield  at  all.  First,  the  few 
hundred  carcasses  sent  from  Australia  as  an  experiment  to 
commission  salesmen,  then  the  regular  marketing  of  large 
quantities  from  the  three  great  producing  countries  through 
the  agency  of  distributing  firms  and  companies,  handled 
in  a  systematic  way,  and  later  the  'evolution  of  the  c.i.f. 
trade,  enabling  the  multiple  retail  shop  owner  to  cover  him- 
self for  six  months  ahead — Smithfield  has  participated  in  all 
these  eventful  developments.  All  the  problems  of  the  trade 
virtually  take  their  rise  in  the  London  Central  Markets,  in  the 
avenues  of  which  one  sees  visitors  from  the  Americas  and  the 
great  lands  of  the  Southern  Seas.  The  New  Zealand  farmer 
shipping  frozen  meat  regards  Smithfield  as  his  Mecca,  and  is 
not  always  content  with  one  brief  pilgrimage.  The  London 
Central  Markets  receive  Russian  Princes,  English  Secretaries 
of  State,  and  Australian  Prime  Ministers,  as  occasional  visitors, 
ami  the  "  porters'  band  "  wielding  knives  and  cleavers  gives 
them  musical  honours.  The  "  Tall  Hat  Brigade  "  is  on  duty 
soon  after  9  a.m.,  gentlemen  peregrinating  the  market  avenues, 
engaged  in  a  quest  for  business,  or  for  information  concerning 


184     A  HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

the  frozen  meat  trade.  The  more  legitimate  frequenters  of 
Smithfield  are  buyers  (wholesale  dealers,  butchers,  retailers, 
restaurant  and  hotel  proprietors),  and,  of  course,  the  importers 
and  agents. 

To  some  degree  Smithfield  has  lost  its  importance  of  late 
years.  In  the  hope  of  bettering  distribution,  the  Americans,  and 
some  of  the  distributing  firms  handling  frozen  meat,  established 
depots  at  Croydon,  Kingston,  Richmond,  Reading,  Brighton, 
Bournemouth,  etc.,  and  at  these  depots  meat  is  sold  that 
would  have  been  formerly  handled  at  Smithfield.  In  the  pro- 
cess of  decentralization  which  is  being  applied  to  the  frozen 
meat  trade  the  London  Central  Markets  suffer  severely,  and, 
instead  of  accompanying  this  great  industry  in  its  rise,  Smith- 
field,  as  far  as  the  proportion  of  its  pitchings  to  the  total  frozen 
meat  trade  of  the  Kingdom  is  concerned,  is  not  advancing. 
Importers  sell  ex  store  or  ex  ship  considerable  quantities  of 
frozen  meat  which  formerly  would  have  been  brought  into  the 
market,  and  the  purlieus  of  Smithfield  are  dotted  with  the 
offices  of  importers'  firms  whose  interests  to  a  great  extent  are 
interdependent  with  that  of  the  Central  Markets.  Changed 
methods  of  business,  the  development  of  c.i.f.  and  ex  store 
buying  by  the  large  meat  retailers,  direct  shipping  to  outports, 
and  sundry  other  influences,  have  checked  the  volume  of 
imported  chilled  and  frozen  meat  passing  through  Smithfield 
from  keeping  pace  with  the  total  trade  in  frozen  and  chilled 
meat.  Although  the  markets'  total  operations  have  increased, 
the  percentage  of  the  total  imports  of  these  meats  marketed  at 
Smithfield  has  steadily  fallen  from  65' 7  in  1882—1886 — the 
beginning  of  the  frozen  meat  era — to  41  in  1910.  The  managers 
of  the  markets  are  sore  about  this,  and  regret  to  find  that 
Smithfield's  distributive  area  is  now  practically  confined  to 
the  metropolis.  In  former  days  its  area  reached  as  far  as 
Birmingham,  and  salesmen  now  in  Smithfield  could  tell  us 
that  they  have  supplied  customers  in  Edinburgh.  Nowadays 
much  more  meat  comes  to  London  from  the  country  than  goes 
from  Smithfield  to  the  Provinces.  Australasia  has  not  been 
faithful  to  Smithfield.  North  and  South  America  have 
defaulted  too.  Grouping  together  the  last  two  sources  of 


t  .fl,  .  •!    <|.»'« 

V 

~''$t 

^'i*- 

••    V.  •;> 


i  \  ?«s.  ^ 

-"  .    -^. T  - 


• 


1111     (.IJKAT  8MTTHFIELD  MARKET  1H.1 

supply,  in  1881  their  ratio  per  cent,  of  meat  marketed  at 
Smithfield  to  the  total  importations  into  the  United  Kingdom 
was  68  ;  in  1010  it  was  40  per  cent.  The  above  decrease*! 
must  not  be  taken  in  any  way  to  indicate  a  smaller  amount 
of  meat  marketed  at  Smithfield,  but  only  a  smaller  ratio  to 
the  total  imports  into  Great  Britain. 

But,  speaking  of  quite  recent  times,  it  is  doubtful  if  Smith  - 
field  has  been  losing  ground  even  in  ratio  to  the  total  imports 
into  Great  Britain,  when  one  regards  the  volume  of  South 
American  chilled  beef  brought  to  the  London  Central  Markets 
vid  Southampton.  The  shipping  development  of  this  chilled 
beef  trade  of  the  Nelson  and  Royal  Mail  Company's  lines 
probably  has  also  been  instrumental  in  causing  a  relative 
increase  in  the  South  American  trade  done  in  London  during 
the  last  few  years  as  well  as  a  decrease  in  the  provincial 
business. 

Old   Smithfield. 

But  before  proceeding  farther,  it  is  better  to  revert  to  the 
beginnings  of  things.  No  part  of  London  has  a  greater  wealth 
of  tradition  attaching  to  it  than  has  Smithfield  and  its  surround- 
ings— "  Smooth  field  "  it  was  termed  in  the  medieval  days 
when  Bartholomew  Fair  was  held  there,  when  tournaments 
took  place  and  duels  were  fought.  In  the  days  of  Mary  and 
Elizabeth,  Catholics  and  Protestants  burnt  each  other  by  turn 
at  Smithfield.  It  was  the  place  for  public  executions  before 
Tyburn  became  fashionable.  As  a  market  for  horses,  and  live 
stock  for  killing,  we  hear  of  Smithfield  in  1150.  Billingsgate 
was  selling  fish,  by  the  way,  1,000  years  ago.  Smithfield 
market  in  1253  was  the  property  of  the  Corporation,  and 
Edward  III.  covenanted  by  charter  with  the  City  of  London 
not  to  grant  permission  to  other  parties  to  set  up  a  market 
within  a  radius  of  seven  miles  from  the  City.  The  erection  of 
markets  was  the  King's  prerogative.  In  those  times  the  market 
price  of  food  was  regulated  by  the  City  authorities  ;  in  1533  it 
was  enacted  that  butchers  should  sell  their  beef  not  above  a 
halfpenny  a  pound  and  mutton  three  farthings,  "  which  act 


186    A   HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

being  devised  for  the  great  commodity  of  the  Realm  "  (as  it 
was  then  thought),  "  hath  since  proved  far  otherwise,  for  before 
that  time  a  fat  ox  was  sold  at  London  for  six  and  twenty 
shillings  and  eightpence  at  the  most,  a  fat  wether  for  three 
shillings  and  fourpence,  a  fat  calf  the  like  price,  a  fat  lamb  for 
twelvepence  ;  pieces  of  beef  weighing  2|  Ib.  at  the  least,  yea, 
3  Ib.  or  better,  for  a  penny  on  every  butcher's  stall  in  this  City, 
and  of  those  fat  pieces  of  beef  thirteen  or  fourteen  for  twelve- 
pence,  fat  mutton  for  eightpence  the  quarter,  and  one  cwt.  of 
beef  for  four  shillings  and  eightpence  at  the  dearest.''  There 
were  then  120  butchers  in  the  City  and  suburbs,  and  of  these 
every  one  killed  six  oxen  a  week,  "  which  is  in  forty-six  weeks 
33,120  oxen,  or  720  weekly."  The  foreign  butchers  for  a  long 
time  stood  in  the  High  Street  of  Lime  Street  Ward  on  the  north 
side  twice  every  week — viz.,  Wednesday  and  Saturday — "  and 
were  some  gain  to  the  tenants  before  whose  doors  they  stood, 
and  into  whose  houses  they  set  their  blocks  and  stalls  ;  but 
that  advantage  being  espied  they  were  taken  into  Leadenhall, 
there  to  pay  for  their  standing  to  the  Chamber  of  London." 
These  references  are  from  Stow's  "  Survey  of  London."  In 
1631  a  writer,  Howes,  gives  "  Ruffians'  Hall "  as  a  cant  name 
for  West  Smithfield,  on  account  of  its  being  "  the  usuall  place 
of  frayes  and  common  fighting  during  the  time  that  sword  and 
buckler  were  in  use."  The  Corporation  appear  to  have  claimed 
market  tolls  in  the  fifteenth  century.  One  of  the  features  of 
the  riotous  St.  Bartholomew's  Fair  was  the  enormous  sale  of 
roast  pork,  and  beef  sausages  came  into  fashion  in  1750,  at 
about  which  time  it  is  noted  that  the  average  weight  of  oxen 
was  370  Ibs.,  and  of  sheep  28  Ibs.  The  Fair  was  closed  in 
1830  ;  the  Corporation  bought  the  Bartholomew  Priory  rights 
in  1850.  Smithfield  was  then  the  market  for  live  stock  ;  and 
the  dead  meat  mart  was  at  Newgate  Market,  which  was 
close  by. 

Smithfield  Market  in  1853. 

An  article  in  the  Quarterly  Review,  June,  1854,  "  The  London 
Commissariat,"   by   Dr.    Andrew   Wynter,    presents   the   live 


Mil    GREAT  SMITHFIKL1)  MARKET 


187 


stock  market  of  Smithfield  very   vividly,  and  the  following 
extract  is  made  : — 

What  they  do  MO  in  reality,  if  they  have  courage  to  wend  their  way  along  any  of 
the  tumble-down  street*  approaching  to  Smithfield,  which  the  great  fire  unfor- 
tunately spared,  is  an  irregular  space  bounded  by  dirty  houses  and  the  ragged 
party  walls  of  demolished  habitations,  which  give  it  the  appearance  of  the  site  of  a 
recent  conflagration— the  whole  space  comprising  just  six  acres,  fifteen  perches, 
roads  and  public  thorough! ares  included.  .  .  .  Thanks  to  the  common  sense  which 
has  at  length  lifted  up  its  potential  voice,  the  days  of  Smithfield  are  numbered,  and 
those  who  wish  to  see  this  enormous  aggregation  of  edible  quadrupeds  bcf«r<  ii 
takes  its  departure  to  its  spacious  new  abode  at  Copenhagen  Fields  raunt  not  delay 
the  visit  much  longer.  The  best  time  is  early  in  the  morning — say,  one  or  two  o'clock 
of  the  "great  day,"  as  the  last  market  before  Christmas-day  is  called.  On  this 
occasion,  not  only  the  space — calculated  to  hold  4,100  oxen  and  30,000  sheep,  besides 
calves  snd  pigs — is  crammed,  but  the  approaches  around  it  overflow  with  live  stock 
for  many  hundred  feet,  and  sometimes  the  cattle  are  seen  blocking  up  the  passage  as 
far  as  8t  Sepulchre's  church.  .  .  .  The  meat  itself  suffers  in  quality,  for  anything 
like  fright  or  passion  is  well  known  to  affect  the  blood,  and  consequently  the  flesh. 
Beasts  subjected  to  such  disturbances  will  often  turn  green  within  twenty-four 
hours  after  death. 

The  same  writer,  after  careful  examination  of  all  the  sources 
of  supply,  gives  the  following  estimate — in  those  days  there  were 
no  exact  statistics — of  the  butchers'  meat  consumed  by  the 
2,500,000  people  who  formed  the  population  of  the  capital  in 
1853.  Dr.  Wynter  values  these  marketing  stock  at  £14,000,000. 


— 

BSMto, 

Sheep. 

Calve*. 

ma 

ite  Meat  Market 
Leaden  hall  Meat  Market    . 

Live  stock  brought  to  London    . 

Total  supply  of  live  stock  and  meat  to 
London  in  1853       .... 

156,000 

:..:!"" 

468,000 
tlflK 

11,100 

31,200 

101,200 
322,188 

609,600 
1,630,793 

31,200 
101,776 

31,200 

1J7.V-..' 

mjnt 

2,140,393 

us^ra 

1  :,'.'."-:' 

These  animals  were  brought  from  the  neighbourhood  of 
London,  the  country  parts  of  England,  Scotland,  Ireland, 
and  the  Continent,  and  were  handled  partly  at  the  markets  and 
partly  by  the  carcass  butchers  throughout  the  metropolis. 


188    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

Smithfield  Market  and  its  Supplies. 

The  whole  district  is  rich  with  material  for  the  tourist  and 
antiquarian  ;  the  site  of  St.  Bartholomew's  Priory  on  the 
south  and  the  Carthusian  Monastery  on  the  north  are  hard  by 
the  present  markets.  Shakespeare  wrote  of  Smithfield,  and 
Dickens's  Nicholas  Nickleby  reposed  in  this  neighbourhood, 
at  the  Saracen's  Head,  which  hostelry  is  still  in  existence.  As 
a  popular  encyclopaedia  puts  it,  Smithfield  of  old  "  was  avail- 
able for  jousts,  tournaments,  executions,  and  burnings." 
Tremendous  congestion  prevailed  in  these  districts,  which  were 
filthy  and  criminal  beyond  description,  and  in  1851  a  Royal 
Commission  was  appointed  to  report  as  to  what  should  be  done. 
A  scheme  was  adopted  under  which  the  live  stock  markets  and 
slaughter-houses  were  taken  away  to  Islington  and  Deptford, 
and  the  new  London  Central  Markets,  the  largest  dead  mart 
in  the  world,  were  opened  in  December,  1868,  for  the  sale  of 
meat,  poultry,  and  provisions.  The  centre  of  "  Old  Smithfield  " 
is  now  laid  out  with  an  ornamental  garden  and  fountains. 

The  first  part  of  the  Central  Markets  was  a  huge 
parallelogram  covering  3|  acres,  with  162  shops.  The 
market  was  a  success  from  the  start,  and  was  soon  followed  by 
the  erection  of  the  poultry  section,  opened  in  December,  1875. 
In  1879  the  fruit  and  vegetable  market  was  begun,  to  be 
followed  by  the  fish  market,  now  termed  the  Smithfield  Market 
Annexe  and  used  as  a  meat  section.  Last,  but  not  least,  the 
extension,  which  is  now  entirely  given  up  to  frozen  and  chilled 
meat,  was  opened  in  1889  for  general  trade.  The  western- 
most section  of  Smithfield  was  nicknamed  the  "  Japanese 
Village "  because  of  the  somewhat  Japanese  style  of  the 
original  decorations. 

The  London  Central  Markets  as  a  whole  now  occupy  about 
ten  acres  ;  the  main  building,  bounded  by  Long  Lane  on  the 
south  and  Charterhouse  Street  on  the  north,  stretches  600 
feet  east  and  west  by  240  feet  north  and  south.  The  building 
is  in  the  Italian  style  with  Mansard  glass  louvre  roof  ;  the 
central  avenue  is  27  feet  wide,  and  there  are  six  side  avenues. 
Each  shop  is  about  36  feet  by  15  feet,  and  behind  every  shop 


MIIHMIM.  M\I:KM      \IK.\V   I>K  IMKKII.I:    .  KSTKAL  AVKSI n    \M«  «-K   mi    N.-KIH 

><i<*  p.  188 


THE  CJHI  AT  SMTTHFIELD  MARKET 

Is  an  enclosed  counting-house  with  offices  above.  The  markets 
are  strictly  wholesale,  except  on  Saturday  evenings,  when  a 
few  of  the  employees  conduct  a  retail  "  People's  Market." 
Th«  TO  are  at  present  340  tenants  holding  344  holdings  and 
giving  employment  to  about  5,000  persons.  The  toll  (2a.  3d. 
•  m)  on  meat,  etc.,  in  1910  came  to  £46,616,  and  the  stall 
rents  to  £81,448.  The  total  capital  expended  on  the  markets 
by  the  Corporation  to  1909  exceeded  £2,000,000. 

The  growth  of  Smithfield  Market,  which  means  the  growth 
of  the  imported  meat  movement,  is  seen  at  a  glance  in  the 
following  table,  extracted  from  the  annual  report  of  the 
Superintendent  of  the  Market,  Mr.  H.  W.  G.  Millman : — 


Origin  or  sources  of  supplies  in  Urms  per  cent. 

Imported  production!  ,  Chilled  or 

Tear. 

Weight  of 
Supplie* 
marketed. 

"  English 
killed*  and 
United 

Frozen. 

Kingdom 
produc- 
tion*. 

and  South 
American 
Chill*!  and 

1  -'!    •••   •>. 

Austral- 
asian 
i  ;  DM  u  . 

1':  '  .•••::. 

Conti- 
nental. 

Tons. 

1869 

IL';.;'*I 

97-7 

Nil 

Nil 

2-3 

1877 

197,681 

89-0 

7-4 

Nil 

3-6 

1««7 

169,888 

77-5 

9-5 

5-8 

7-2 

iv.r 

898,807 

47-9 

18-8 

20-3 

13-0 

1907 

417,067 

36-6 

24-6 

26-7 

131 

1910 

419,550 

•>:>••: 

82-6 

25-2 

12-6 

The  average  daily  pitchings  of  meat  at  the  Central  Markets 
during  1910  were  24,000  mutton  and  lamb  carcasses,  2,700 
quarters  of  beef,  and  2,500  pork  carcasses. 

An  exceedingly  interesting  chapter  of  Smithfield's  history 
is  opened  up  when  we  examine  the  effect  produced  upon  the 
great  Central  Markets  by  the  coming  of  chilled  and  then  frozen 
meat.  For  the  five  years  prior  to  the  Strathleven's  arrival, 
meat  produced  in  the  United  Kingdom  was  86  per  cent,  of  the 
whole  quantity  marketed  at  Smithfield  ;  the  14  per  cent, 
imported  had  grown  to  70-4  in  1910.  This  drop  of  56  per 
cent,  in  the  proportion  of  home  supplies  in  the  thirty  years  has, 
of  course,  involved  a  complete  change  in  the  methods  of  the 


190     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

market.  (It  must  be  noted  that  these  percentages  of  home 
and  imported  meat  supplies  apply  to  London  only.  For  the 
country  as  a  whole  the  figures  are,  approximately,  for  beef  and 
mutton  :  home  produced,  63'5  per  cent.  ;  imported,  36*5  per 
cent.,  equal  to  88'7  Ibs.  per  head  of  the  population  per  annum.) 
When  frozen  meat  first  appeared,  the  small  quantity  of  meat 
imported  was  refrigerated  American  beef  and  Dutch  and 
French  meat ;  there  were  large  consignments  from  France  of 
all  sorts,  calves,  sheep,  etc.,  and  the  beef  was  of  very  good 
quality.  In  country  districts  frozen  meat  has  satisfied  a 
newly-created  want,  but  in  London  it  has — by  its  excellence 
and  cheapness,  and  its  appeal  to  the  seven  million  consumers 
within  twenty  miles  radius  of  Smithfield — been  gradually 
supplanting  other  kinds  of  meat. 

By  about  1883  frozen  meat  had  become  so  important  on  the 
Central  Markets  that  the  Corporation  had  to  make  special 
provision  for  it,  but  even  then  that  body  failed  to  grasp 
how  indispensable  an  auxiliary  cold  storage  would  prove 
to  be  to  the  meat  trade  and  the  market — hence  it  missed 
its  finest  opportunity  of  becoming  the  cold  storage  authority 
within  the  area  of  its  market  rights.  The  market  sales- 
men took  the  incoming  of  the  Australasian  and  Argentine 
meat  with  great  calmness ;  gradually  more  discrimination 
was  exercised  as  to  quality,  brands,  etc.,  as  frozen  meat 
became  a  force  at  Smithfield.  The  more  enterprising  of 
the  salesmen  of  the  markets  opened  their  arms  gladly 
to  the  produce  of  the  South  ;  many  firms  saw  the  potenti- 
alities that  lay  in  the  new  business,  took  it  up  on  a  proper 
scale,  and  did  well.  At  first  only  a  few  salesmen  went  into 
the  business,  but  by  degrees  frozen  meat  penetrated  farther 
and  farther,  and  now  it  has  conquered  nearly  the  whole  market 
and  has  become  absolutely  necessary  to  the  majority  of  the 
tenants. 


The  American  Invasion. 

This  may  be  a  fitting  place  to  write  of  the  American  invasion 
of  Smithfield  and  what  came  of  it.      Mr.  T.  C.  Eastman  was 


THE   GREAT  SMITH!  III.!)    MARKET  1!M 

the  shipper,  from  New  York  in  October,  1875,  of  the  first  lot 

of  Am.  nr.m  chilled  beef  to  this  country,  and  he  must  have  due 
credit  for  this  pioneer  enterprise.  A  baron  of  that  beef  was  sent 
to  Queen  Victoria  at  Windsor  Castle,  and  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  have 
the  Royal  Seal  in  connection  with  that  transaction.  The 
Queen  pronounced  the  meat  to  be  "  very  good."  The  shippers 
of  this  early  American  chilled  beef  included  Toffee  Brothers, 
(iillctte  (Jersey  City),  Martin  Fuller  (Philadelphia),  and 
Sherman  (Philadelphia).  This  beef  was  stitched  up  in  canvas 
and  was  hung  in  the  ships'  chambers,  which  were  kept  at  a 
reduced  temperature  by  the  use  of  ice.  Mr.  J.  D.  Link  acted 
as  agent  for  Mr.  Eastman  up  to  the  time  when  Messrs.  John 
Bell  and  Sons  took  over  the  agency. 

Prior  to  the  beginning  of  the  chilled  beef  trade  small  quan- 
t  it  iis  of  beef,  hard  frozen,  arrived  at  Smithfield  from  the  United 
States ;  hindquarters  arrived  in  long  boxes,  "  as  hard  as  a 
stone,"  but  bright  and  in  good  condition.  The  frozen  beef 
made  about  2$d.  to  3d.  per  Ib. — it  was  mostly  hindquarters. 
English  beef  in  1874  was  making  9d.  a  Ib.,  and  probably  this 
price  tempted  the  Americans.  Quite  inconsiderable  in  volume, 
and  negligible  as  a  market  factor,  was  this  early  frozen  beef 
from  North  America.  Of  course,  it  was  frozen  by  ice  and 
salt  mixture.  The  American  chilled  beef  when  it  first 
came  was  very  large — from  four-year-old  cattle.  For  years 
the  American  meat  did  not  affect  prices  to  any  degree 
in  the  Central  Markets — it  was  a  "  little  outside  trade."  After 
1880  the  chilled  beef  became  important,  but  the  wonderful 
jump  forward  was  in  the  decade  1888 — 1897,  when  both  chilled 
and  frozen  meat  took  up  a  commanding  position  in  Smithfield 
supplies.  The  quality  of  the  chilled  beef  from  North  America 
was  so  good  that  it  forced  itself  into  general  use. 

When  the  goods  first  came  to  Smithfield,  and  for  many  years 
-wards,  they  were  handled  by  salesmen  on  commission. 
At  length  there  came  a  time  when  the  Americans  said,  "Why 
should  we  not  sell  for  ourselves  ?  "  So  they  acquired  various 
stalls  in  the  Grand  Avenue,  paying  heavy  sums  for  the  goodwill. 
It  is  only  fair  to  say  that  the  American  firms  themselves  state 
that  one  reason  which  led  them  to  market  their  own  beef  was 


192    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

that  they  did  not  "  get  a  very  square  deal  with  some  of  the 
Smithfield  salesmen."  There  were  difficulties  between  the 
American  importers  and  some  of  their  salesmen.  At  any  rate, 
the  former  made  up  their  minds  to  sell  their  own  meat.  It  is 
on  record  that  the  Morris  Beef  Co.,  which  has  three  shops,  paid 
for  the  goodwill  of  one,  the  stall  which  belonged  to  Mr.  Edward 
Poole,  £16,000,  £11,500  for  another,  the  Venables  stall,  and 
£12,500  for  the  third,  the  one  acquired  from  Messrs.  Jennings. 
The  Hammond  Beef  Co.  has  two  stalls  on  the  market ;  Armours 
hold  four  stalls.  By  the  "  Combinations  in  the  Meat  Trade  " 
Commission  it  was  put  to  Mr.  Woodruff  that  Swifts  (who  hold 
six  shops  at  Smithfield)  in  1901  paid  £12,000  for  the  goodwill 
of  one  of  the  stalls  they  acquired,  transferred  by  Mr.  Frost. 
To  the  same  Commission  one  of  the  American  witnesses  said 
that  the  Americans  hold  about  5  per  cent,  of  the  Smithfield 
stalls — that  would  be  seventeen.  These  stalls  just  referred  to 
are  stalls  run  in  the  name  of  the  companies,  or  partners.  But 
it  is  constantly  said  and  suggested  in  letters  to  the  Press 
that  the  Americans  are  interested  in  shops  nominally  held 
and  conducted  by  other  parties,  and  that  if  the  truth  were 
known  it  would  be  found  that  they  really  control  a  large  number 
of  shops  at  Smithfield. 

Administration  of  the  Market. 

The  control  and  management  of  the  Central  Markets  is  vested 
in  a  committee  of  the  Corporation  consisting  of  six  aldermen 
and  twenty-nine  commoners  ;  no  tenant  of  the  market  is  per- 
mitted to  belong  to  the  committee.  The  chairman  of  the  com- 
mittee in  191 1  was  Mr.  James  Rowland  Brough.  The  rule  exclud- 
ing tenants  is  of  comparatively  recent  origin,  and  is  constantly 
being  attacked  on  the  ground  that  a  committee  of  management 
skilled,  as  to  its  personnel,  in  every  mercantile  business  except 
that  of  handling  meat  must  of  necessity  be  incapable  of  a 
thoroughly  efficient,  just,  and  sympathetic  administration  of 
London's  great  Central  Markets.  Considering  how  vast  and 
highly  complex  the  operations  of  the  Central  Markets  are,  and 
the  number  and  variety  of  interests  involved,  it  does  appear 


Illl     (-K1.AT  SMITIJFIELI)   MARKET  I!) :* 

reasonable  that  the  market  community  itself  should  be  repre- 
sented on  the  Markets  Committee — the  market  representatives 
need,  of  course,  never  exceed  a  voting  minority  of  the  com- 
mittee. 

An  important  part  of  the  administration  of  the  Central 
Markets  is  that  concerned  with  the  inspection  of  the  meat 
supplies  by  the  Corporation  officers.  The  Medical  Officer 
•  •:  Health  for  the  City  of  London  is  charged,  among  other 
things,  with  the  duty  to  the  public  of  ensuring  that  a  pure 
supply  of  fresh  food  passes  through  the  marts  of  Smithfield. 
Mr.  T.  D.  Young  is  chief  inspector,  and  there  is  a  staff  of 
twelve  inspectors,  constantly  on  the  watch  to  detect  unsound 
meat.  It  must  be  stated  that  the  tenants  themselves  are  of 
great  assistance  to  the  inspectors,  for  a  considerable  proportion 
of  the  meat  condemned  represents  cases  voluntarily  brought 
before  the  inspectors  by  the  salesmen.  In  1910  1,427  tons  of 
meat  were  dealt  with  by  the  market  authority  as  unsound  : 
("diseased,"  119  tons,  "putrid"  [mostly  accidentally  damaged], 
1,164  tons,  and  "unwholesome,"  144  tons) — a  mere  fraction  of 
the  whole  quantity  supplied  to  the  market. 

The  meat  condemned  by  the  inspectors  is  chemically  dealt 
with  at  the  Corporation  condemned  meat  sheds  adjacent  to 
the  market,  so  as  to  prevent  its  being  used  as  foodstuff,  and  it  is 
then  sold  for  commercial  purposes,  the  proceeds  being  retained 
l>y  the  Corporation  to  cover  the  alleged  expenses,  or  handed 
over  to  the  owners,  less  certain  charges. 

The  Corporation's  Claims  in  1904. 

That  the  Corporation  of  the  City  of  London  keep  and  have 
kept  a  keen  eye  upon  the  developments  of  the  frozen  meat 
trade  is  evidenced  by  their  having  raised  the  question  of  tolls 
in  a  special  way  in  1904.  In  that  year  some  excitement 
was  caused  in  Smithfield  frozen  meat  circles  by  the  Markets' 
Committee's  attempt  to  revise  the  Central  Markets'  con- 
st it  ution  by  introducing  new  by-laws.  The  Corporation  of 
London  claimed  the  right  to  collect  tolls  on  meat  sold 
at  Smithfield  although  delivered  direct  from  store  without 

F.M.  o 


194     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

going  on  the  market.  Such  a  claim  would  practically 
involve  payment  of  toll  on  every  carcass  imported  into 
London  and  would  be  a  tax  on  the  food  supplies  of 
the  metropolis.  The  Corporation  also  desired  to  make  by- 
laws to  control  the  operations  of  wholesale  dealers  and  agents 
who  transacted  business  with  Smithfield  salesmen.  This  point 
is  dealt  with  in  the  following  extract  from  one  of  the  suggested 
by-laws  : — "  Any  person  not  being  a  tenant  of  the  markets 
who  shall,  in  the  markets  or  their  approaches,  hawk  or  offer  for 
sale  any  goods,  or  solicit  or  tout  for  or  take  any  order  for 
any  provisions  or  marketable  commodities,  shall,  for  every 
offence,  forfeit  and  pay  a  sum  not  exceeding  £5."  What  was 
meant  by  "  approaches  "  is  understood  when  it  is  mentioned 
that,  under  the  old  charter,  the  Corporation  took  the  term  to 
include  a  radius  of  seven  miles  from  the  Central  Meat  Markets. 
These  claims  were  really  a  protest  against  the  system  which 
had  grown  up  of  delivering  frozen  meat  "  ex  store  "  ;  such 
meat,  instead  of,  as  formerly,  being  brought  into  the  market, 
would  be  sold  there  by  sample,  on  brand,  or  otherwise,  and  the 
bulk  would  be  despatched  from  cold  store.  Probably,  the 
Corporation  hi  making  these  claims  were  actuated  to  some 
degree  by  the  knowledge  that  not  a  jot  of  the  enormous  profits 
made  occasionally  in  the  transfer  of  Central  Avenue  stalls — 
for  the  "  good  will  " — to  American  houses  came  its  way.  And 
as  to  the  second  part  of  its  new  demands,  the  Corporation 
objected  to  the  Market  being  used  as  an  open  exchange,  for 
buyers  and  sellers — not  being  tenants — to  meet  there  and  do 
business.  It  was  necessary  that  the  Board  of  Trade  should 
grant  permission  for  the  suggested  by-laws  to  be  added  to 
the  Central  Markets'  constitution,  and  at  this  point  the  Frozen 
Meat  Trade  Association,  after  having,  in  conjunction  with  the 
Agents-General  for  Australasia  and  other  trade  associations, 
resisted  the  proposals,  lodged  with  the  Board  of  Trade  a  com- 
prehensive statement  of  objections  to  certain  of  the  by-laws. 
The  Board  of  Trade  was  to  have  held  an  enquiry  into  the 
suggested  by-laws,  but  the  inquiry  was  postponed  at  the 
request  of  the  Corporation  in  1905,  and  has  not  taken  place  to 
the  present  time.  The  course  adopted  by  the  Association  was 


mi    (,KI:AT  SMITHFIELD  MARKET        195 

successful  in  blocking  the  proposals  of  the  Corporation  in  a 
general  way,  though  some  change  was  from  that  time  made  in 
the  form  of  tenants'  agreements  to  cover  the  Markets  Com- 
mittee's claims  in  this  matter  of  tolls.  One  effect  of  the 
Corporation's  claims  to  penalize  persons  (non-tenants)  who 
attempted  to  "  hawk "  or  "  tout "  in  the  markets  was  to 
cause  firms  who  did  the  sort  of  business  aimed  at  to  establish 
themselves  in  offices  round  the  market  in  West  Smithfield. 
This  had  been  going  on  for  some  time,  and  the  possibility  of 
cumulative  £5  fines  made  firms  get  a  stand  outside  the  market. 
The  whole  matter  has  now  narrowed  down  into  arrangements 
between  the  Corporation  and  its  tenants,  and  where  the  agree- 
ments (which  vary  in  different  parts  of  the  Market)  admit  of 
Mich  action,  the  Corporation  exacts  toll  from  tenants  on  all 
meat  sold  at  their  stalls  whether  delivered  from  the  stalls  or 
from  outside  cold  store.  The  episode  is  interesting  as  a  protest 
on  t  ho  part  of  the  Corporation  of  London  against  the  decentrali- 
zation of  the  chilled  and  frozen  meat  trade  from  the  Central 
Markets. 

Getting  the  Meat  to  Market. 

Insulated  vans  convey  the  meat  from  the  dock  stores  to  the 
market.  The  cold  stores  begin  loading  up  meat  for  Smithfield 
at  about  10  p.m.,  and  the  vans  reach  the  market  about  3  a.m. 
the-  following  morning.  The  salesmen  and  their  staff  arrive 
before  4  a.m.,  at  which  time  the  retailers  begin  to  come  along, 
all  in  a  hurry  to  get  their  daily  supplies  for  London's  flesh-food 
needs. 

There  are  several  toll  offices  outside  the  market,  and  each 
van-load  of  meat  is  weighed,  and  the  toll  (2s.  3d.  per  ton)  paid  to 
the  clerk,  who  gives  a  pass,  which  is  handed  to  the  policeman 
at  the  portals  of  the  great  Smithfield  market.  The  meat  is 
borne  on  the  backs  of  stalwart  market  porters  to  the  various 
"  shops  "  or  "  stalls  "  ;  these  porters  are  strenuous  persons, 
and  stand  not  upon  the  order  of  their  going.  To  meet  in  full 
career  a  porter  laden  with  a  200-lb.  quarter  of  "  hard  "  beef 
is  to  experience  a  "knock-out."  Sample  carcasses  of  the 

o  2 


196     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

different  qualities  and  weights  are  unclothed  and  hung  up  on 
the  salesman's  hooks,  the  bulk  being  stripped  for  examination 
by  buyers  when  purchasing.  In  this  way  from  one  carcass  to 
200  carcasses  are  sold  at  a  time,  according  to  the  requirements 
of  retail  buyers,  who  consist  of  suburban  butchers,  represen- 
tatives of  the  large  stores,  Government  contractors,  restaurant 
keepers,  etc.  The  retail  buyers  may  also  purchase  joints, 
pieces  or  "  oddments,"  and  some  of  the  Smithfield  stallholders 
make  a  speciality  of  cutting  up  carcasses  to  oblige  their  cus- 
tomers. In  the  chilled  beef  trade  "  rumps  "  and  "  loins  "  are 
very  commonly  cut  from  the  hindquarters  for  the  West-end 
butcher.  The  buyer  negotiates  swiftly — there's  no  time  to 
waste  at  Smithfield  ! — and  if  a  bargain  is  struck,  wooden 
skewers  are  stuck  in  the  carcasses,  which  are  forthwith  again 
shouldered  by  the  porters  and  carried  to  the  waiting  van  of 
the  buyer,  or,  perchance,  to  one  of  the  two  railways  which 
run  underneath  the  market. 

Market  Methods  at  Smithfield. 

The  keen  purchaser  frequently  buys  on  the  brand  ;  he  usually 
inspects  the  tag  attached  to  the  carcass  to  satisfy  himself  as  to 
the  "  sub-marks  "  for  quality  and  weight.  The  suburban 
butcher  often  likes  to  secure  Canterbury  brands,  and  sees  that 
the  ticket  is  left  on  the  carcass  so  that  he  can,  if  necessary, 
show  his  customers  that  he  is  selling  genuine  Canterbury  meat. 
For  all  comers  the  salesman  is  prepared  ;  he  will  sell  you  a 
shoulder  of  mutton,  a  dozen  kidneys,  or  500  sheep,  for  he  caters 
for  "  one  and  all." 

The  rule  in  settling  hi  the  Central  Markets  is  a  week's  credit. 
Credit  is  given  for  longer  terms  in  some  rare  cases,  but  the 
frequency  of  bad  debts  in  the  market  of  late  years  has  limited 
this  practice,  and  the  salesman  now  pulls  his  man  up  very 
sharply  if  he  fails  to  pay  promptly. 

It  is  only  to  be  expected  that  the  biggest  meat  mart  in  the 
world  has  complexities  which  would  prevent  the  onlooker  who 
cursorily  regards  its  operations  from  getting  to  the  bottom  of  its 
methods.  Its  salesmen  are  divided,  roughly,  into  sections, 


THE   GREAT   SMITIIFIEI.I)    MARKET 


197 


and  one  division  is  according  to  the  trade  in  which  they  are 
engaged.  Though  the  tendency  of  late  years  has  been  for  the 
Smithfield  tenants  to  cultivate  a  mixed  business,  there  are 
some  who  still  confine  themselves  to  the  Scotch  trade,  some  to 
American  beef,  and  others  to  the  frozen  business.  But  the 
two  major  classes  into  which  the  salesmen  are  divided  are  the 
commission  salesmen  and  the  jobbers;  there  is  a  third — the 
direct  importer. 

The  commission  salesman  receives  consignments  of  meat 
from  anybody  and  everybody,  and  his  rate  of  commission 
varies.  On  the  authority  of  an  old  tenant,  "  for  the  last  forty 
years  2|  per  cent,  has  been  the  standing  commission  for  all 
meat  except  pork,  which  is  sold  at  Is.  per  pig  under  12  stone 
(of  8  Ibs.)  and  Id.  per  stone  above  that  weight.  Poultry  is 
supposed  to  be  consigned  at  5  per  cent,  commission,  but  in 
that  trade  special  arrangements  are  frequently  made."  The 
commission  salesman  pure  and  simple  is  fast  becoming  a 
rarity  in  the  markets,  largely  on  account  of  the  low  prices  of 
frozen  meat ;  little  can  be  made  out  of  the  customary  2  per 
rent .,  which  rate  has  extensively  prevailed  notwithstanding 
what  is  mentioned  just  above. 

The  so-called  commission  man  often  indulges  in  a  little 
speculation  on  his  own  account,  and  in  so  doing  becomes  a 
jobber.  The  jobber  is  a  trader  who  buys  for  resale.  He  is 
also  prepared  to  take  goods  on  commission  when  it  suits  him ; 
sometimes  it  does  not.  In  cases  of  congested  markets  salesmen 
may  decline  to  accept  goods  for  sale ;  cases  of  5  per  cent,  having 
been  offered  are  on  record,  and  sometimes  the  salesman  may 
bargain  for  Id.  per  stone  commission.  The  jobbers  go  down 
early  in  the  morning,  and  are  at  their  shops  between  3  and 
4  a.m.,  before  the  butchers  go  to  the  market.  The  purchases 
of  frozen  meat  from  the  importers  are  generally  effected 
between  9  a.m.  and  noon  of  the  day  preceding  that  on  which 
it  is  pitched  on  the  market,  this  being  the  only  time  when  t  he 
salesmen  have  the  opportunity  of  discussing  deals  with  the 
importers.  The  rates  at  which  this  business  is  done  go  a 
long  way  to  determining  the  prices  ruling  next  day,  though, 
of  course,  the  total  supply  and  the  total  demand  of  the  day 


198     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

overrule  to  some  extent  the  question  of  the  cost  price  of  the 
meat.  Smithfield  Market,  with  its  vastness  and  multiplicity 
of  interests,  is  large  enough  to  make  a  study  of  the  influences 
that  determine  the  market  price  of  the  day  a  subject  as  elusive 
and  as  deep  as  it  is  attractive  to  follow.  As  a  rule,  a  jobber 
does  not  pay  toll  on  any  meat  bought  inside  the  market,  the 
importer  having  paid  it ;  but  on  meat,  etc.,  bought  outside 
the  market  the  jobber  has  to  pay  toll,  though  it  is  necessary 
to  qualify  this  by  saying  that  the  practice  depends  on  the 
terms  of  purchase. 

The  Americans  are  doing  a  lot  of  harm  to  the  jobber.  Their 
operations  make  it  difficult  for  him  to  exist,  and  the  day  may 
come  when  the  jobber  will  be  almost  eliminated.  He  has  to 
be  a  very  smart  man  indeed,  and  has  to  watch  the  market  with 
lynx-like  eyes  to  secure  his  "  turn."  He  is  essentially  a 
"  spot "  operator. 

The  term  "  direct  trader  "  may  serve  to  describe  the  position 
of  the  third  class.  The  man  who  buys  live  stock  (the  "  carcass 
man  ")  and  brings  the  carcasses  to  Smithfield  for  sale  on  his 
own  account,  and  the  c.i.f.  buyer  of  frozen  meat,  fall  into  this 
category,  as  they  get  very  near  the  producer.  But  the  Smith- 
field  tenants  who  form  the  majority  of  this  division  are  the 
large  firms  of  importers  who  distribute  from  Smithfield  in  a 
wholesale  manner,  or  sell  to  their  co-stallholders.  The 
American  houses  and  the  companies  in  the  Australasian  and 
South  American  trade,  although  they  may  do  at  times  commis- 
sion and  jobbing  business,  are  a  very  distinctive  class  of  Smith- 
field  tenants,  and  one  likely  to  increase. 

Prices  for  the  Day. 

The  meat  prices  vary  from  day  to  day  and,  in  times  of  market 
excitement,  from  hour  to  hour.  It  is  not  easy  to  understand 
and  explain  how  these  rates  come  to  be  fixed  in  and  accepted 
by  a  market  of  such  enormous  proportions  and  divergent 
interests.  Retailers  going  from  stall  to  stall  could  tell  us  that 
wonderfully  little  variation  exists  in  the  ideas  as  to  the  day's 
prices  on  the  part  of  the  salesmen.  It  used  to  be  imagined  in 


THE  GREAT  SMITHFIELI)  MARKET 


I!)!) 


New  Zealand  that  prices  for  frozen  meat  were  settled  day  by 
day  by  the  Smithfield  "  ring  "  i  The  slightest  knowledge  of 
Sinithfiold's  business  shows  that  a  "ring"  cannot  exist — it 
could  were  frozen  meat  a  market  by  itself  and  in  the  hands  of 
a  few.  But  New  Zealand  frozen  meat  is  only  a  small  percentage 
of  Smithfield's  pitchings,  and  has  to  take  its  place  alongside 
English,  Scotch,  American,  Dutch,  Australian,  Argentine,  and 
other  meats.  It  is  impossible  to  mention  all  the  factors  working 
automatically  towards  current  meat  prices.  "  We  feel  it  in 
the  air,"  said  one  of  the  salesmen,  when  asked  how  the  market 
tenants  arrived  at  the  morning's  prices.  A  few  of  the  more 
obvious  influences  may  be  mentioned.  First,  of  course,  any 
change  in  the  public  demand  for  meat,  favourable  or  unfavour- 
able ;  retailers'  buyings  would  be  affected  by  this,  and  the 
weather  has  a  curiously  potent  (not  altogether  sentimental) 
effect  in  causing  the  butcher  to  purchase  briskly  or  cautiously. 
Then  would  come  the  controlling  factor  in  the  situation,  the 
supplies  of  meat — not  only  frozen  meat,  but  all  sorts,  for  the 
different  descriptions  act  and  react  upon  one  another,  and  the 
price  movements  of  superior  kinds  strongly  affect  the  whole 
market.  The  salesman  knows  roughly  the  quantities  of  meat 
warehoused  in  London,  and  the  expected  imports,  and  he  learns 
from  the  carriers  the  bulk  to  be  pitched  on  the  market  on  a 
certain  day.  Argentine  chilled  beef,  very  sensitive  as  to  value, 
powerfully  influences  market  prices.  The  state  of  general 
trade  in  the  country  has  its  effect.  The  salesman,  with  all 
these  currents  and  influences  around  him,  weighs  the  general 
< -i tv u instances  of  the  meat  market  and  arrives  at  a  rough 
idea  of  the  marketing  value  of  his  meat.  Of  course  there 
is  much  "  come  and  go  "  in  the  business.  If,  for  example,  he 
considers  that  the  factors  promise  well,  he  will  test  his  buyers 
with  a  penny  per  stone  rise  on  the  market  rates  of  the  previous 
day.  Finding  his  sales  checked,  he  drops  his  price  again  an 
hour  later,  but  if  sales  continue  freely,  he  may  try  for  a  further 
advance.  The  same  general  principles,  presumably,  apply  to 
Smithfield  as  to  all  other  open  markets  and  exchanges,  tlu- 
fluctuations  in  price  being  intensified  in  the  case  of  meat  by 
reason  of  its  perishable  nature. 


CHAPTER  XIV 

REACHING   THE   CONSUMER 

THE  retail  sale  of  frozen  meat  puts  the  whole  industry  to  the 
touch.  The  New  Zealand  farmer,  the  Argentine  estanciero, 
the  Queensland  grazier,  have  in  mind  the  fancies  of  the  English 
meat-buying  public  in  breeding  their  animals  for  freezing. 
The  whole  of  this  business,  with  its  enormous  invested  capital 
and  widely  extended  mercantile  links,  depends  as  to  adequate 
financial  return  upon  the  favours  of  the  British  consumer. 
Engineers  burn  the  midnight  oil  in  designing  new  and 
economical  machinery  and  plant  for  freezing  works,  ship,  and 
cold  store.  Shipping  and  railway  systems  are  changed 
especially  to  serve  the  needs  of  the  transport  of  frozen  meat ; 
marketing  and  mercantile  methods  swiftly  adapt  themselves 
to  its  distribution.  All  these  processes  await  their  crucial  test 
at  the  butcher's  shop.  Of  course,  the  "  butcher  "  is  not  now 
a  butcher,  but  a  meat  retailer,  and  the  frozen  meat  trade  has 
brought  about  the  change. 

The  retail  meat  trade  in  England  is  divided  into  two  classes, 
the  butcher  who  kills  his  animals  in  his  own  slaughterhouses, 
and  the  meat  purveyor  who  purchases  his  stock-in-trade  in 
the  markets.  The  latter  class,  with  which  this  chapter  is 
concerned,  is  again  split  up  into  three  sections.  There  is  the 
"  family  trade  "  man  who  sells  meat  of  the  highest  quality 
obtainable  ;  he  runs  accounts,  and  has  often  to  give  long  credit. 
The  "  mixed  trade  "  man  gives  some  credit,  but  his  business 
is  mostly  on  a  cash  basis.  Then  there  is  the  "  Colonial  "  or 
"  cutting  "  trade — all  cash  business.  The  family  trade  shop 
makes  its  principal  show  at  the  beginning  of  the  week,  the 
mixed  trade  shop  at  the  end ;  as  for  the  "  cutting  "  shop, 
there's  no  show  at  all.  Immediately  the  frozen  meat  goes  into 
stock,  there  it  is  cut  up  hard  and  bright. 


Ki.\<  IM\G   THE   CONSUMER 

In  the  mixed  trade  shops  home-killed,  American,  and  frozen 
beef  and  mutton  are  sold,  as  well  as  small  quantities  of  pork  and 
Teal.  A  small  "  tut  ting  "  shop  is  generally  closed  on  Monday, 
as  its  daily  supplies  are  shut  off  by  the  occurrence  of  Sunday, 
and  its  customers  seldom  require  fresh  meat  on  the  following 
day.  Frozen  mutton  and  lamb,  and  forequarter  beef,  suet,  etc., 
are  the  goods  dealt  in  :  at  such  a  shop  about  fifteen  sheep,  five 
lambs,  and  three  fores  of  beef  will  be  handled  on  Saturday. 
These  shops  are  mostly  met  with  in  provincial  towns,  and  the 
majority  are  run  in  the  names  of,  or  are  "  tied  "  to,  the  great 
shop-owning  companies.  A  word  in  passing  here  :  the  family 
butcher  to  a  great  extent  has  found  out  that  he  must  keep 
frozen  lamb  (New  Zealand)  in  stock,  and  also,  very  frequently, 
New  Zealand  mutton.  If  he  does  not,  his  customers  go  to  the 
retailer  who  does.  It  is  quite  a  recognized  thing  for  people 
who  would  not  dream  of  buying  frozen  meat  in  general  to 
purchase  Canterbury  lamb.  Possibly  the  feelings  of  these 
worthy  conservatives  are  soothed  by  the  magic  of  "  Canter- 
bury." There  may  be  recorded  the  well-authenticated  state- 
ment that  many  innocents  buy  Canterbury  (New  Zealand) 
meat  sincerely  believing  that  it  comes  from  the  Romney 
Marshes  of  Old  England.  The  proportion  of  Canterbury  lamb 
handled  in  the  high-class  shops  increases  when  home  mutton 
is  dear,  and  decreases  when  home  mutton  is  cheap. 

The  Producer  and  Retail  Business. 

It  has  been  the  dream  of  many  of  the  producers  in  New 
Zealand  and  Australia  to  run  their  own  shops  in  England,  to 
hold  their  meat  in  their  own  hands  right  through  the  whole 
cycle,  and  not  to  surrender  the  ultimate  link  to  the  English 
meat  purveyor.  In  New  Zealand  the  producer — not  the 
freezing  company — has  been  very  keen  on  this  ;  not  altogether 
because  of  the  retailing  profit.  He  has  long  been  convinced 
of  the  excellence  of  the  meat  he  sends  to  England,  and  has 
naturally  resented  the  good  deal  of  improper  substitution  that 
in  the  past  has  taken  place  in  the  retail  vending  of  frozen  meat 
in  various  parts  of  the  Old  Country.  Royal  Commissions 


202    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

have  showed  him  that  frozen  mutton  has  been  sold  as  home- 
produced,  of  which  he  surely,  as  well  as  the  English  farmer, 
has  a  right  to  complain,  and  police  court  prosecutions  have 
revealed  the  practice  of  inferior  frozen  meat  being  palmed  off 
as  "  Canterbury "  or  "  New  Zealand."  The  New  Zealand 
grower  has  desired  above  all  that  the  article  he  produces  shall 
not  lose  its  identity  when  it  reaches  the  shop  stage,  and  he 
bitterly  resents  the  fraudulent  use  of  the  description  "  New 
Zealand  "  in  the  selling  of  frozen  meat.  But  the  improvement 
that  has  taken  place  of  late  in  the  quality  of  South  American 
and  Australian  mutton  tends  to  lessen  the  grounds  for  the 
New  Zealander's  complaint  in  this  connection.  According  to 
the  oft-stated  opinions  of  all  practical  men  in  the  meat  trade 
of  Great  Britain,  New  Zealand  mutton  has  steadily  deteriorated 
in  quality  in  recent  years,  chiefly  because  New  Zealand  has 
decided  to  develop  her  lamb  trade  at  the  expense  of  mutton. 
The  keen  demand  for  lambs  for  freezing  has  tempted  farmers 
to  ship  many  of  their  most  promising  young  animals  instead 
of  keeping  them  for  breeding  stock. 

Schemes,  of  which  there  have  been  many,  have  in  the  past 
been  framed  mainly  in  order  to  give  shippers  the  benefit  of 
retail  profits.  To  give  an  instance,  there  was  a  very  elaborate 
draft  scheme,  dated  1887,  for  selling  New  Zealand  mutton  and 
lamb  in  twenty  shops,  to  be  opened  in  fifteen  of  the  most 
important  centres  of  Great  Britain.  It  was  proposed  to  invest 
£10,000  in  the  venture,  and  to  turn  over  2,000  carcasses  a 
week.  A  respectable  profit  was  counted  upon,  but  the  scheme, 
intended  to  conserve  the  retail  selling  returns  for  the  New 
Zealand  interests,  never  got  beyond  paper. 

With  regard  to  proposals  in  this  direction  that  were  carried 
to  completion,  a  bold  move  was  made  in  1899  by  the  Christ- 
church  Meat  Co.  in  inducing  Mr.  H.  Woodley  to  open  up  at 
Queen  Street,  Cardiff,  a  shop  for  the  sale  of  choicest  Canterbury 
mutton  and  lamb.  The  shop  was  fitted  up  in  an  attractive  style, 
with  agricultural  scenes  pictured  on  the  tiled  walls.  This 
enterprise  was  a  joint  affair  between  the  company  and 
Mr.  Woodley,  but  after  a  few  years  the  business  was  taken  over 
entirely  by  the  latter.  The  venture  was  not  intended  in  any 


REACHING  THE  CONSUMER 

way  to  compete  with  the  company's  c.i.f.  buyers,  but,  on  tho 
contrary,  was  intended  to  assist  them  by  advertising  the 
choicest  qualities  of  New  Zealand  meat.  This  action  of  the 
Christ-church  Meat  Co.  in  giving  up  their  interest  in  the  Cardiff 
shop  showed  that  the  directors  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it 
was  not  their  business  to  run  the  retail  trade,  and  no  doubt 
this  is  the  position  wisely  taken  up  by  the  managers  of  tho 
Australasian  meat  works  in  general.  Another  venture  con- 
nected with  the  retail  sale  of  the  highest  qualities  of  New 
Zealand  meat  and  other  produce  was  that  of  Mr.  H.  C.  Cameron, 
who  opened  the  New  Zealand  Produce  Stores  in  Manchester 
in  1894.  He  brought  New  Zealand  meat  successfully  before 
classes  of  Manchester  consumers  who  had  been  accustomed 
hitherto  to  see  lower  grades  of  frozen  meat  vended  in  by  no 
means  attractive  shops.  This  business  was  taken  over  in 
1898  by  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd. 

An  ambitious  scheme  was  propounded  in  1903,  when  the 
British  New  Zealand  Meat  and  Produce  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed 
in  New  Zealand  with  a  share  capital  of  £150,000.  Quoting 
from  the  prospectus,  this  company  was  formed  "  for  the  pur- 
pose of  supplying  direct  from  the  producer  in  New  Zealand  to 
the  consumer  in  Great  Britain  and  elsewhere  New  Zealand 
meat,  butter,  cheese,  and  other  produce."  Many  leading  men 
connected  with  the  meat  export  industry  helped  forward  the 
founding  of  the  company,  which  had  the  blessing  of  Mr.  Seddon, 
Prime  Minister.  A  prominent  feature  of  the  proposals  was 
the  adoption  of  a  defrosting  process.  The  capital  was  reduced 
to  £50,000,  of  which  sum  something  under  £20,000  was  paid 
up.  When  business  was  opened  in  London,  four  suburban 
shops  were  taken.  It  was  discovered,  however,  that  there 
were  too  many  butchers  in  London  to  allow  of  the  original 
scheme  being  carried  out  with  success,  and  at  the  present  time 
the  company's  retail  business  is  confined  to  only  one  shop — 
at  Finsbury  Park.  The  company  has,  however,  settled  down 
to  ordinary  importers'  business,  and  now,  with  a  wholesale 
stall  in  Smithfield  Market  Annexe,  conducts  a  profitable  trade. 
The  first  dividend,  6  per  cent.,  was  paid  in  1908,  no  dividends 
having  been  earned  on  the  retailing  business. 


204    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

The  idea  that  money  could  be  made  by  meat  producers 
taking  over  the  retail  selling  of  their  own  frozen  meat  has  been 
very  widely  held  in  the  past.  About  eight  years  ago  par- 
ticulars were  forthcoming  concerning  a  bold  venture  in  this 
direction.  A  company  was  to  be  formed  with  a  capital  of 
£150,000,  £100,000  of  which  was  to  be  devoted  to  the  purchase 
of  400  retail  meat  shops,  £20,000  being  for  preliminary  expenses, 
and  £20,000  for  working  capital.  It  was  estimated  that 
10,000  sheep  and  2,220  cwts.  of  beef  would  be  turned  over 
weekly,  say,  431,600  cwts.  of  meat  per  annum.  The  cost  price 
of  meat  was  put  at  3d.  per  Ib.  all  round,  and  selling  at  4d.  per 
Ib.  left  an  annual  gross  profit  of  over  £200,000  ;  net  profit 
close  on  £30,000.  The  author  of  the  prospectus,  a  practical 
meat  man,  pointed  out  that  this  sum  paid  a  handsome  dividend 
on  capital  and  left  a  substantial  surplus.  The  principle  of 
business  adopted  by  the  great  London  stores  was  to  be  intro- 
duced. Close  attention  was  to  be  given  to  the  utilization  of 
the  inferior  parts  of  the  carcass  by  having  them  sent  to  the 
company's  shops  in  poor  districts.  The  promoter  wrote : 
"  Our  line  of  policy  will  be  to  transfer  the  *  goodwill '  of  local 
shops  from  the  local  shopman  to  the  company."  The  estimates 
and  the  plan  of  campaign  in  this  case  were  all  worked  out  most 
closely.  What  one  had  to  take  for  granted,  it  may  be  presumed, 
in  order  to  arrive  at  the  £30,000  a  year  net  profit,  was  that  400 
suitable  shops  could  be  acquired  and  manned,  and  the  whole 
revolutionary  system  of  management  set  going  as  smoothly 
as  a  clock  is  wound  up.  Nothing  came  of  the  scheme,  but 
its  details  are  mentioned  here,  as  they  possess  features  of 
interest. 

Of  course,  one  of  the  recognized  difficulties  of  running 
multiple  meat  shops  is  the  unreliability  of  the  employees, 
especially  in  the  case  of  businesses  of  a  casual  kind.  However, 
the  failure  of  all  attempts  on  the  part  of  New  Zealand  and 
Australian  meat  producers  themselves  to  carry  out  the 
retailing  of  their  meat  is  due  to  a  deeper  cause,  and  can  only 
be  attributed  to  the  fact  that  a  good  farmer  makes  a  bad 
tradesman,  even  as,  of  course,  a  good  tradesman  would  make 
a  bad  farmer.  English  and  Scotch  farmers  for  the  past  fifty 


REACHING   Till!   (ONSUMI 

years  have  been  possessed  by  the  same  idea  as  the  New 
Zealand  producers,  and  every  one  of  the  innumerable  attempt* 
on  their  part  to  run  their  own  retail  shops  has  ended  in 
dismal  failure. 

Lamb  versus  Mutton. 

Too  much  stress  cannot  be  placed  on  the  part  which  New 
Zealand  lamb  has  played  in  attracting  a  better  class  of  cus- 
tomers ;  frozen  meat  in  general  has  been  popularized  exten- 
sively by  this  means.  At  times  retailers  have  found  it 
profitable  to  push  frozen  lamb  against  home-bred  mutton  ;  it 
was  not  a  difficult  task  to  convince  the  public  of  the  superior 
eating  quality  of  the  lamb.  Restaurants  have  taken  up  this 
practice,  finding  it  a  good  investment  to  put  New  Zealand 
lamb  joints  on  their  tables  in  place  of  the  more  expensive 
English  mutton.  But  the  lamb  often  appears  as  "  mutton  " 
on  the  bill !  This  policy  of  the  retailers,  only  profitable 
when  the  wholesale  prices  of  frozen  lamb  do  not  exceed  5d. 
per  lb.,  acts  prejudicially  on  the  frozen  mutton  trade,  and  the 
depression  which  has  been  felt  in  this  section  for  years  past  is, 
doubtless,  accounted  for  partly  by  the  increasing  lamb  vogue 
in  the  shop  and  the  home. 

Attention  may  be  drawn  to  the  statement  made  so  frequently 
of  late  by  writers  in  trade  papers  that  mutton  is  becoming 
"  unpopular  "  in  Great  Britain.  This  is,  probably,  incorrect. 
That  lamb  is  displacing  home-bred  and  imported  mutton  to 
some  degree,  as  noted  above,  is  evident  from  an  examination 
of  the  statistics.  In  the  years  1905,  1906,  and  1907,  imports 
of  frozen  lambs  increased  splendidly.  Taking  receipts  in  the 
United  Kingdom  from  all  quarters,  the  increases  in  the  years 
mentioned  were,  respectively,  592,700,  648,000,  and  668,000. 
In  the  same  years  the  frozen  mutton  increases  were  nothing 
like  so  considerable.  With  Argentina  now  exporting  largely, 
it  is  plain  that  frozen  lamb  is  encroaching  upon  frozen  mutton. 
nsumers  find  lamb  in  a  way  forced  upon  them,  their  demand 
for  mutton  must  lessen  ;  mutton  then  becomes  "  dull  "  in  the 
wholesale  marts.  And  the  heavy  supplies  of  English  and  Scotch 
mutton  have  brought  down  prices  for  home-bred.  But  none 


206    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  these  tendencies  need  convince  one  that  the  public  are  losing 
their  taste  for  juicy  and  tender  mutton,  which  is  far  more 
popular  in  the  British  Isles  than  on  the  Continent  of  Europe, 
where,  generally,  mutton  is  not  fancied. 

One  reason  why  frozen  mutton  has  not  made  its  way  so 
thoroughly  and  successfully  into  the  better-class  houses  is, 
probably,  because  to  a  great  extent  it  is  cooked  without 
sufficient  hanging.  Frozen  meat  has  no  chance  at  all  unless 
the  frost  has  been  entirely  removed  from  the  carcass  or  the 
joint.  Frequently  the  meat  which  was  in  the  cold  store  on 
Friday  morning  is  in  the  citizen's  oven  on  Sunday  ;  the  joint 
is  bound  to  be  tough.  One  cannot  be  surprised  at  the  dislike 
for  frozen  meat  which  would  follow  the  consumption  of  such  an 
indigestible  joint !  Many  retailers  thaw  out  the  meat  properly 
by  various  means,  but  some  do  not.  The  matter  is  one  well 
worth  taking  in  hand  with  a  view  to  the  education  of  the 
public.  Unfortunately,  when  frozen  meat  has  been  well 
thawed  out  and  has  been  hung  till  it  has  become  ripe,  it  is 
apt  to  be  unsightly  in  appearance.  On  account  of  its  excel- 
lent eating  qualities,  frozen  lamb,  therefore,  commands  a  special 
field  in  the  retail  vending  ;  neither  frozen  mutton  nor  frozen 
beef  approaches  it. 

It  must  be  confessed  that  frozen  mutton  is  not  as  reliable 
an  article  as  frozen  lamb,  and  one  of  the  reasons  why  the 
former  has  not  become  as  popular  with  the  public  as  lamb  is 
because  of  the  shipment  of  secondary  and  inferior  grades,  and 
of  ewe  mutton  sent  from  Australia  and  New  Zealand  and 
now  beginning  to  arrive  from  South  America.  New  Zealand 
is  losing  her  mutton  trade  in  Great  Britain  to  some  degree. 
"  Plate  "  mutton,  bright  and  of  excellent  quality,  and  arriving 
regularly,  is  getting  to  be  preferred  by  the  retailer,  and 
threatens  to  command  the  markets.  It  is  maintained  by  the 
English  meat  merchants  and  experienced  market  men  that 
frozen  mutton  is  somewhat  lacking  in  flavour  and  tenderness, 
and  that  shippers  should  be  content  with  their  mutton  occupy- 
ing a  secondary  place  in  the  markets  of  Great  Britain  ;  they 
say  that  the  intrinsic  merits  of  the  meat  are  indicated  by  the 
price  which  it  fetches  on  the  wholesale  markets.  They  dismiss 


REACHING  THE  CONSUMER 

the  idea  of  "  prejudice,"  pointing  out  that  the  word  is  outworn 
and  ridiculous  when  Great  Britain  uses  over  10,000,000  frozen 

carcasses  annually  and  asks  for  more.  Hut  then- can  he  no  ques- 
tion that  for  the  first  ten  to  twenty  years  after  the  Strathleven 
landed  her  cargo  the  force  of  prejudice  acted  as  a  considerable 
deterrent  to  frozen  meat  enjoying  the  degree  of  popularity  to 
u  Inch  its  good  qualities  and  cheapness  entitled  it,  prejudice 
manifested  in  the  servants'  hall — at  the  instigation  of  the 
butchers — and  the  suburban  snobbishness  because  frozen  meat 
was  not  considered  the  "  proper  thing." 

The  Retailing  of  Beef. 

Speaking  of  the  average  frozen  meat  shop,  pure  and  simple, 
in  England,  it  is  obvious  that  its  style  and  fittings  generally 
are  capable  of  much  improvement.  Many  visitors  from 
Australasia  and  other  countries  remark  about  this.  Some- 
thing is  wanted  to  make  the  shops  brighter  and  more  attractive. 

With  regard  to  frozen  beef,  the  retailer  has  not  found  this 
a  very  popular  class  of  meat  in  his  trade.  That,  at  any  rate,  is 
what  he  says.  Probably,  the  far  better  appearance  of  the 
(hilled  beef  from  North  and  South  America  has  created  some 
prejudice  against  the  frozen  quarter  ;  the  dampness  in  the  air 
condensing  upon  the  exposed  surface  of  200  Ibs.  of  beef  causes 
the  rather  unpleasant  phenomenon  popularly  styled  "weep- 
ing." These  things,  however,  are  but  externals,  and  no  one 
questions  the  intrinsically  good  quality  of  the  frozen  beef 
from  New  Zealand  and  Australia  and  South  America. 

Frozen  beef  is  mainly  retailed  at  the  cutting  shops,  though 
the  better  parts  find  their  way  into  the  "  mixed  "  trade.  The 
cheap  rates  at  which  this  beef  has  been  wholesaled  must  have 
made  it  an  extremely  useful  article  for  the  retailer,  and  the 
public  who  have  bought  the  enormous  quantities  imported 
have  also  obtained  the  maximum  of  nourishment  at  minimum 
prices. 

With  the  coming  of  the  Argentine  chilled  beef  about  the 
beginning  of  the  nineties,  the  working  of  the  frozen  meat  shops 
became  immediately  easier.  Never  was  any  development  in 


the  food  import  trade  more  welcome  !  Though  the  North 
American  supplies  of  refrigerated  beef  were  a  necessity  to  the 
meat  trade  in  this  country,  the  suppliers  themselves  were 
unpopular,  and  it  was  with  great  joy  that  wholesale  and  retail 
meat  men  in  Great  Britain  saw  plentiful  quantities  of  chilled 
beef  arriving  from  South  America.  Chilled  beef  from  the 
United  States  of  America  is  too  high  hi  price  for  the  cheaper 
shop  to  cut,  but  the  retailer  is  able  to  sell  good  joints  of 
Argentine  chilled  at  moderate  prices  and  work  this  meat 
conveniently  with  his  frozen  mutton  and  lamb  trade.  It  is 
stated  that  frozen  beef  has  come  more  into  favour  since  the 
River  Plate  has  been  such  a  large  shipper  ;  this  is  probably 
owing  to  the  regularity  of  shipments  and  steady  annual  increase 
which  have  marked  the  exports. 

Counting  up  the  Retailers. 

A  useful  conclusion  to  this  chapter  will  be  some  figures  to 
give  an  idea  of  the  numbers  of  shops  in  Great  Britain — we  may 
safely  exclude  Ireland — at  which  the  meat  produced  at  home, 
and  on  farm,  station,  and  estancia  overseas  is  sold.  There 
are  24,000  retail  butchers  in  the  United  Kingdom.  Then 
there  are  the  stores — there  are  about  1,500  in  the  United 
Kingdom — and  the  provision  and  grocers'  shops  which  also  sell 
frozen  meat,  as  well  as  the  stalls  in  streets  and  markets 
and  in  country  towns  on  market  days,  and  also  the  humble 
coster,  who  must  not  be  forgotten.  Nothing  in  the  shape  of 
an  accurate  calculation  can  be  made,  but  one  may  suggest  that 
there  are  not  less  than  100,000  establishments  in  the  United 
Kingdom  at  which  fresh  meat  is  vended.  One  has  it  on  the 
authority  of  Mr.  Heap,  president  of  the  National  Federation 
of  Meat  Traders'  Associations,  that  80  per  cent,  of  imported 
meat  is  sold  by  firms  who  sell  nothing  else.  A  list  of  the 
multiple  shop  concerns  handling  frozen  and  chilled  meat  only, 
with  the  number  of  shops,  was  prepared  for  the  purposes  of  this 
book,  but  it  was  found  impossible  to  ensure  anything  like 
accuracy.  Brief  allusion  to  this  branch  of  the  subject  may, 
however,  be  made  in  stating  that  Messrs.  James  Nelson  and 
Sons,  Ltd.,  run  about  1,500  shops  in  the  United  Kingdom ; 


REACHING  THE  CONSUMER 

Eastmans,  Ltd.,  about  1,400 ;  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co., 
Ltd.,  over  400;  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd.,  417;  and  the 
London  Central  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  over  500;  these  being  the 
largest  concerns. 

Considering  that  every  town  of  about  5,000  inhabitants  and 
upwards  has  its  frozen  meat  shop  or  shops,  and  that  there  are 
the  mixed  and  family  shops  to  account  for  which  handle  the 
remaining  20  per  cent,  of  imported  meat,  it  cannot  be  unreason- 
able to  suggest  that  there  must  be  at  least  20,000  shops,  stores, 
etc.,  cutting  frozen  meat. 

To  understand  how  frozen  meat  has  captured  the  retail  meat 
trade  of  England,  one  has  but  to  study  the  advertisements  in 
the  Meat  Trades  Journal.  The  great  majority  of  the  company 
shops,  as  above,  are  in  the  populous  centres  of  the  north; 
but  Eastmans'  are  well  distributed  over  the  country ;  Messrs. 
James  Nelson  and  Sons  have  about  250  shops  in  London  and 
suburbs,  and  Messrs.  Fletchers'  are  mostly  in  the  Midlands  and 
South  and  West  of  England.  It  is  interesting  to  note  the 
turnover  of  one  of  the  large  shop  companies'  business  ;  the 
figures  appear  colossal.  One  learns  from  particulars  recently 
published  that  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd.,  turned  over 
£1,482,000  in  1910.  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  have  cold  stores  in  the 
United  Kingdom  capable  of  holding  350,000  carcasses  of 
mutton.  The  big  turnover  of  the  multiple  shop  owner  is  done 
on  a  very  small  margin,  sometimes  as  low  as  £  per  cent.,  and 
the  business,  to  admit  of  success,  demands  a  keen  expert 
knowledge  of  markets  and  men.  Most  of  the  London  suburban 
retailers  sell  frozen  meat.  The  restaurants  catering  for  the 
rlt  r  Us  supply  it  to  their  customers  freely. 

As  the  multiple  shop  'system  has  been,  and  is  still  more 
likely  to  be,  such  an  important  factor  in  the  retailing  of  frozen 
meat,  it  is  interesting  before  closing  this  chapter  to  take  a 
glance  at  the  development  of  a  concern  which  was  a  pioneer  in 
this  branch  of  the  trade.  This  is  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  which  was 
formed  in  January,  1889,  with  a  capital  of  £900,000,  to  acquire 
the  cattle  and  fresh  meat  business  of  Messrs.  T.  C.  and  Joseph 
Eastman,  of  New  York,  and  Messrs.  John  Bell  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  of 
London  and  Glasgow,  the  latter  concern  being  the  multiple 

F.M.  p 


210     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

frozen  meat  shop  pioneer  in  Great  Britain.  The  first  directors 
of  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  were  Lord  Greville,  Messrs.  George  Scheibler, 
H.  Scott  Ritchie,  Russell  Monro,  Henry  Bell,  James  Bell,  and 
James  John  Thomson,  managing  director.  The  business  of 
Messrs.  Bell  was  started  in  1827,  and  registered  in  1888  as  a 
limited  liability  company,  the  whole  of  the  shares  being  held  by 
members  of  the  firm  and  their  managers — their  turnover  from 
1878  to  1888  was  over  £17,000,000.  It  was  in  1879  that  Messrs. 
Bell  began  to  open  up  meat  shops  in  Great  Britain,  and  at  the 
time  of  the  amalgamation  they  had  330  shops  in  the  British 
Isles.  In  1900  the  whole  of  the  American  business  was  discon- 
tinued, and  the  property  sold,  and  from  that  time  onward 
Eastmans,  Ltd.,  have  devoted  themselves  to  their  shop  trade, 
in  supplement  to  which  they  have  a  wholesale  Smithfield  con- 
nection. The  330  shops  in  1889  have  now  increased  to  over 
1,400;  the  company  have  cold  store  depots  at  London,  Glasgow, 
Dublin,  Liverpool  (two),  Manchester,  Leeds,  Newcastle,  Bristol, 
Chatham,  and  Sheerness,  capable  of  holding  350,000  carcasses 
of  mutton.  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  are  very  extensive  buyers  of  New 
Zealand  mutton  and  lamb,  and  they  handle  very  considerable 
quantities  of  frozen  and  chilled  beef  from  all  parts  of  the 
world. 

References  to  James  Nelson  and  Sons,  the  retail  meat  shops 
of  which  house,  scattered  up  and  down  Great  Britain,  form 
the  great  rivals  of  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  appear  on  p.  80. 

Mention,  too,  may  be  made  of  the  part  which  Messrs.  John 
Rose  and  Co.  took  in  the  retail  distribution  of  Canterbury 
mutton  and  lamb.  In  this  department  of  the  trade  they 
ranked  as  early  pioneers  (see  p.  382). 

The  Argenta  Meat  Company,  Limited,  is  an  important 
undertaking  running  a  number  of  frozen  meat  shops  in  the 
north.  It  has  been  from  its  beginning  an  excellent  customer 
for  the  highest  grades  of  New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb,  and 
its  shops  are  amongst  the  best  class  of  retail  meat  establish- 
ments, where  imported  mutton,  lamb,  and  beef  are  sold.  The 
company  was  started  by  Mr.  G.  J.  Ward  and  Mr.  William 
Rushworth,  and  the  first  shop  was  opened  in  Oldham  in  1895. 


CHAPTER  XV 

PROVINCIAL   DISTRIBUTION 

As  the  successful  marketing  of  frozen  meat  depends  largely 
upon  careful  handling  and  efficient  and  rapid  distribution,  it 
will  be  well  understood  that  the  comparative  merits  of  ports  of 
destination  for  frozen  meat  shipped  to  Great  Britain  have 
always  been  the  subject  of  considerable  controversy.  London, 
with  its  huge  population,  its  pre-eminent  railway  facilities, 
and,  generally,  its  overwhelming  importance  as  compared  with 
other  centres,  has  always  occupied  first  place  as  a  centre  of 
distribution  for  frozen  meat.  Twenty-one  years  ago  out  of  a 
total  import  into  the  United  Kingdom  of  3,358,823  carcasses  of 
frozen  mutton  and  lamb,  London  received  2,389,129  ;  eleven 
years  ago  out  of  7,094,782  it  took  4,770,801  ;  and  in  1910  it 
took  8,572,788  out  of  a  total  import  for  the  United  Kingdom 
of  12,981,044  carcasses.  So  in  1891  London  was  credited  with 
71  per  cent,  of  the  total  importations,  in  1901  with  67  per 
cent.,  and  in  1910  with  66  per  cent. 

If  minimum  handling  were  the  only  consideration  in  getting 
frozen  meat  to  the  consumer,  it  is  probable  that  direct  shipment 
to  the  various  chief  ports  round  our  coast  nearest  to  the 
districts  of  population  would  be  a  method  difficult  to  argue 
against,  and  with  certain  of  our  large  provincial  ports  this 
trade  has  developed  to  a  very  large  extent  in  the  last  few 
years. 

Quite  early  in  the  frozen  meat  campaign,  in  1886,  vessels 
from  the  River  Plate  were  directed  to  Liverpool,  which  port 
quickly  became  the  chief  distributing  centre  for  Argentine 
mutton.  In  1902  over  2,000,000  carcasses  were  landed  there, 
against  412,000  at  London,  but  of  late  South  America  has 
largely  increased  her  London  landings.  Argentine  meat  is 

p  2 


212     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

landed  at  Cardiff,  Manchester,  Bristol,  Glasgow,  Southampton 
Hull,  and  Newcastle,  as  well  as  at  Liverpool,  but  the  Mersey 
port   has   been   the   great   distributive   headquarters  for  the 
north  of  England  of  the  importers. 

Had  Australia  and  New  Zealand — especially  Australia — been 
able  to  arrange  for  the  regular  despatch  of  vessels  to  Liverpool 
and  other  ports  in  the  early  days  of  the  trade,  no  doubt 
importers  of  Australasian  meat  would  have  put  up  a  fight 
with  the  Plate  companies  in  those  markets.  But  the  Aus- 
tralasian shipping  services  made  London  their  destination, 
and  refrigerated  and  other  produce  from  those  Colonies  has, 
in  consequence,  been  despatched  to,  and  largely  handled  in, 
London.  In  1892,  however,  arrangements  were  made  for 
Australian  and  New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb  to  be  con- 
signed direct  to  Liverpool,  and  from  that  year  to  the  present 
time  the  "  outports  "  have  been  used  by  Australasian  shippers. 
The  volume  of  business  was,  however,  quite  small  till  1904, 
when  the  "  West  Coast  "  steamer  service  was  started  from 
New  Zealand  to  Liverpool,  Cardiff,  Avonmouth,  Glasgow,  and 
Manchester.  In  1907  and  1908  about  a  million  carcasses 
yearly  were  shipped  direct  to  those  ports  from  Australia  and 
New  Zealand,  and  by  1910  the  totals  had  grown  to  over 
2,000,000.  According  to  the  statistics  published  by  the  London 
Central  Markets  Committee,  during  the  twenty-nine  years,  1880 
to  1908,  2,123,839  tons  of  frozen  meat  have  been  imported 
into  Great  Britain  from  Australasia,  and  of  this  total  1,533,777 
tons,  72' 2  per  cent.,  have  passed  through  Smithfield  market. 
This  percentage  is  now,  however,  lessening  year  by  year. 
Probably,  increasing  quantities  of  Australian  meat  will  be 
shipped  to  the  provincial  ports,  but  London  will  always  remain 
the  most  favourable  centre  for  selling  New  Zealand  meat 
and  the  higher  grades  of  frozen  mutton  and  lambs  from 
South  America  and  Australia. 

The  question  of  the  comparative  advantages  in  shipping 
to  the  various  ports  could  be  discussed  at  great  length, 
but  as  this  would  be  to  little  purpose  here,  the  discussion  need 
not  be  entered  upon  further  than  to  say  that  it  would  seem 
that  London  and  Liverpool  are  fated  long  to  remain  the  chief 


PROVINCIAL  DISTRIBUTION 

ports  for  frozen  meat ;  they  possess  the  population  and  means 
of  distributing  to  an  unequalled  degree.  There  is  noted  in 
another  part  of  this  book  the  tendency  of  River  Plate  meat 
since  1905  to  go  in  increasing  proportion  to  London.  Whilst 
shippers  in  New  Zealand  and  Australia  have  been  hankering 
after  direct  shipments  to  country  ports,  the  Argentine  people 
have  quietly  directed  more  and  more  of  their  chilled  and 
frozen  meats  to  London.  London  is  the  market  for  the 
highest  quality,  especially  chilled  beef  ;  so  South  America 
ships  most  of  her  chilled  beef  to  Southampton  and  London, 
and  mutton  tends  to  follow.  The  weakness  of  country 
markets  lies  in  the  fact  that  they  can  be  so  easily  overstocked  ; 
over  and  over  again  importers  of  frozen  meat  have  found  this 
out  to  their  cost. 

It  remains  to  give  some  idea  of  the  facilities  for  frozen  meat 
possessed  by  the  various  leading  ports  that  compete  for  this 
trade.  The  improved  organization  of  the  West  Coast  service 
bringing  refrigerated  produce  from  Australasia  during  the  last 
few  years  has  put  the  Liverpool,  Cardiff,  Manchester,  Glasgow, 
and  Bristol  (Avonmouth  Docks)  markets  into  more  direct 
touch  with  the  farmer  in  New  Zealand  and  Australia.  This 
service  has  now  been  organized  in  a  thorough  manner.  Route 
No.  1,  via  Suez  Canal,  is  Australia  to  London,  Liverpool, 
and  Avonmouth ;  No.  2,  via  the  Cape,  is  New  Zealand  to 
Avonmouth,  Liverpool,  and  Glasgow  ;  and  No.  3,  via  Torres 
Straits  and  Suez  Canal,  is  Queensland  ports  to  Liverpool 
and/or  London.  There  are  twelve  sailings  in  the  year  in 
each  route  on  the  homeward  journey.  The  West  Coast  ports 
have  many  conveniences,  and  shippers  are  taking  advantage  of 
the  facilities  they  offer — non-lightering,  handling  and  railage 
saved,  cheap  harbour  and  landing  charges,  etc.  But  the 
merchants  in  the  cities  named  have  failed  to  grasp  that  the 
frozen  meat  trade  is  being,  and  will  in  the  future  increasingly 
be,  done  on  the  selling  forward  basis.  The  days  of  chance 
or  open  consignment  are  waning,  and  if  the  provision 
brokers  and  merchants  at  these  "  out  ports  "  desire  to  compete 
with  London,  they  will  probably  find  out  ere  long  that  they 
must  take  up  the  business  in  this  way. 


214     A   HISTORY    OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Liverpool. 

The  claims  of  Liverpool  as  a  meat  centre  require  no  support : 
it  is  the  second  port  of  the  United  Kingdom,  and  its  shipping, 
cold  stores,  cattle  lairages,  markets,  and  railways  comprise  a  vast 
and  excellent  receiving  and  distributing  system.  The  leading 
lines  of  foodstuffs  brought  to  Liverpool  in  twelve  months 
total  about  £45,000,000  in  value.  In  1910,  822,025  quarters 
of  frozen  beef  from  South  America  were  landed  there,  while  in 
1890  only  about  5,000  quarters  reached  the  port.  In  1910  also, 
545,642  chilled  quarters  from  South  America  were  imported, 
and  246,728  lamb  carcasses  from  the  same  source.  The  lambs 
imported  into  Liverpool  from  Australia  and  New  Zealand  in 
1910  numbered  411,132  and  334,341  carcasses  respectively, 
and  mutton  carcasses  1,166,174  and  37,003  respectively,  while 
frozen  beef  from  the  Antipodes  was  imported  to  the  extent 
of  186,224  quarters  from  Australia  and  40,683  from  New 
Zealand. 

Liverpool  is  well  provided  with  cold  storage  accommodation, 
its  seventeen  stores  having  a  total  capacity  of  more  than  two 
million  carcasses  of  mutton.  A  glance  at  the  map  will  show 
that  eight  of  these  cold  stores  are  situated  either  at,  or 
in  handy  access  to,  the  line  of  docks  for  which  the  port  is 
famous. 

As  regards  the  actual  landing  facilities  for  frozen  meat  at 
Liverpool,  most  of  the  steamers  carrying  frozen  meat  discharge 
at  the  North  end  of  the  docks,  and  this  is  most  suitable  for 
the  consignees  of  the  meat,  owing  to  the  close  promixity  of 
the  principal  cold  stores  to  the  Canada,  Brocklebank,  Langton, 
and  Alexandra  Docks,  where  unloading  usually  takes  place. 
The  meat  is  discharged  from  the  steamer's  hold  by  means 
of  large  canvas  slings  on  to  the  quay,  under  a  covered  shed, 
where  it  is  sorted  and  delivered  according  to  mark.  During 
the  last  year  or  eighteen  months  a  considerable  number  of 
insulated  vans  have  been  built  by  cartage  contractors  for  the 
purpose  of  conveying  the  meat  from  the  ship's  side  to  cold 
stores  or  railway  depot,  a  distance  of  only  from  about  half  a 
mile  to  a  mile.  The  handling  of  the  meat  on  the  quay  is 


1'UOYIV  IAI.    DISTRIBUTION  215 

undertaken  by  the  master  porter.  He,  in  many  instances,  is 
only  a  nominee  of  the  steamship  companies,  which  arrange  their 
own  discharge  and  employ  their  own  men  on  the  quay  to 
deliver  to  consignees. 

At  several — but  not  all — of  the  discharging  berths  allocated 
to  frozen  meat  steamers,  railway  lines  have  been  laid  down  by 
the  Mersey  Docks  and  Harbour  Board  to  enable  refrigerator 
cars  to  be  run  alongside  for  the  loading  of  the  meat  direct  from 
the  steamer.  The  meat  is  discharged  on  to  trucks,  and  these 
are  run  across  the  Dock  Board's  shed  to  the  railway  line, 
where  the  meat  is  then  loaded  into  refrigerator  cars.  If  meat, 
however,  intended  for  despatch  to  provincial  markets  cannot 
be  loaded  in  railway  vans  alongside  the  steamer,  it  is  usually 
carted  in  street  wagons  to  the  nearest  railway  depot  or  cold 
store,  and  loaded  up  there  in  ordinary  or  insulated  railway 
vans,  according  to  destination. 

A  few  railway  rates  in  force  from  Liverpool  to  various 
consuming  centres  will  illustrate  the  Mersey  Port's  position 
in  this  connection.  There  is  a  2-ton  rate  of  22s.  Qd.  per  ton, 
delivered,  to  Bradford,  Leeds,  and  Sheffield,  and  11s.  Sd. 
(station  to  station)  to  Manchester.  The  4- ton  (owner's  risk 
rate)  to  Glasgow  is  £1  per  ton,  while  the  5-ton  rate,  delivered,  to 
such  towns  as  Newcastle-on-Tyne,  North  and  South  Shields, 
and  Sunderland,  is  32«.  Qd.  per  ton.  The  steamer  rate  to 
Belfast  is  15s.  and  to  Dublin  22s.  lid.  per  ton.  The  railage  to 
Birmingham  is  255.  per  ton  for  3-ton  lots. 

Manchester. 

With  the  completion  and  opening  in  1894  of  the  Manchester 
Ship  Canal,  and  the  erection  of  cold  stores  in  Manchester  and 
on  the  Canal,  enthusiastic  efforts  were  made  to  establish  a 
direct  trade  between  Australia  and  that  city.  A  beginning 
waa  made  in  1895,  when  the  sailer  Timaru  took  16,000  carcasses 
from  Geelong,  Australia,  direct  to  Manchester.  The  meat  was 
sold  c.i.f.  at  2fd.  per  Ib.  to  local  buyers,  and  opened  out  in 
splendid  condition.  However,  the  River  Plate  importers,  with 
the  avowed  purpose  of  discouraging  further  direct  imports 


216     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

from  Australia,  lowered  their  price  for  mutton  to  2\d.  and 
under — thus  causing  the  Manchester  buyers  of  the  Australian 
meat  to  make  a  heavy  loss.  Though  the  claims  of  Manchester 
as  a  suitable  port  for  the  direct  import  of  Australasian  frozen 
meat  have  been  advanced  with  great  persistency,  the  prospect 
has  not  been  inviting  enough  to  induce  the  shipper,  the  shipping 
companies,  and  the  mercantile  interests  in  England,  to  land 
Australian  or  New  Zealand  meat  on  the  Ship  Canal  wharves, 
except  to  an  insignificant  extent. 

The  Port  of  Manchester,  for  port  it  must  be  called,  with  its 
Canal  facilities,  vies  with  London  as  a  centre  of  population, 
as  within  a  twenty  mile  radius  of  "  Cottonopolis "  there 
is  a  population  of  nearly  eight  millions.  This  centre,  too,  has 
special  cold  storage  equipment  which  is  worthy  of  note. 
On  the  Ship  Canal  is  a  large  refrigerated  transit  chamber,  for 
the  sorting  of  frozen  meat  and  produce  before  delivery  to 
railway  wagons  or  carts.  This  chamber  has  a  capacity  of 
85,500  cubic  feet,  and  is  certainly  an  excellent  provision,  con- 
stituting that  feature  of  cold  storage  equipment  which  has 
been  advocated  far  and  wide  by  those  who  study  the  ideal 
method  of  handling  big  lines  of  frozen  produce  imports. 

There  are  also  at  Manchester  good  facilities  for  storing  frozen 
produce.  At  Weaste,  on  the  Ship  Canal,  there  is  the  large 
store  of  the  Colonial  Consignment  and  Distributing  Co.,  now 
leased  and  managed  by  the  Union  Cold  Storage  Co.  Its 
capacity  is  175,000  carcasses,  and  alongside  large  steamers  can 
be  berthed  and  discharged.  The  Union  Co.  also  has  cold  stores 
in  Miller  Street,  Manchester,  with  a  capacity  of  80,000  car- 
casses ;  the  Manchester  Corporation  has  within  easy  cartage  dis- 
tance from  the  docks  cold  storage  accommodation  for  150,000 
carcasses  of  sheep  alongside  its  extensive  market  and  abattoirs. 
The  Corporation  abattoirs  and  meat  market,  together  with  their 
cold  store,  are  second  only  to  Smithfield,  London,  and  the  daily 
hanging  of  meat  is  greater  than  in  any  market  in  the  Kingdom 
excepting  Smithfield.  The  municipal  cold  store  is  situated 
conveniently  for  the  various  markets  of  the  city.  At  the 
Foreign  Animals  Wharf  and  Lairages  at  the  Manchester  Docks 
there  is  accommodation  for  1,850  cattle  and  1,500  sheep,  with 


PROVINCIAL  DISTRIBUTION  217 

room  for  extension.  The  weekly  supply  of  cattle  at  these  lairages 
from  Canadian  and  North  American  ports  brings  butchers  from 
the  suburbs  of  Manchester,  who  in  addition  to  purchasing 
fresh  beef  also  obtain  their  supplies  of  frozen  mutton  and 
lambs,  and  thus  avoid  going  to  Liverpool  and  Birkenhead. 

The  Ship  Canal  Co.'s  efficient  system  of  railway  lines  all 
round  its  quays  is  in    direct    communication    with  all  the 
principal  railways,  and  the  Canal  Co.  takes  charge  of  and 
ards  produce  at  inclusive  through  rates. 

Cardiff. 

This  leading  port  and  distributing  centre  on  the  Bristol 
Channel  has  been  closely  identified  with  the  frozen  meat  trade 
for  many  years,  and  although  direct  shipments  from  Austral- 
asia by  the  West  Coast  service  are  not  as  numerous  as  the 
advantages  offered  by  the  port  and  district  seem  to  suggest 
they  might  be,  the  Argentine  shippers  take  care  in  distributing 
their  meat  to  send  a  large  quantity  to  Cardiff.  The  first 
shipment  of  frozen  meat  landed  in  the  Bristol  Channel  reached 
Cardiff  about  1889.  It  was  shipped  by  the  River  Plate  Fresh 
Meat  Company. 

In  1910  Cardiff  came  next  in  importance  to  Liverpool  and 
London  amongst  the  nine  ports  in  the  United  Kingdom  to  which 
South  American  meat  was  despatched.  As  to  the  various 
facilities  for  receiving  and  handling  frozen  meat,  Cardiff  is  well 
to  the  fore.  Its  docks  are  excellent,  and  railways  run  along- 
side. Cold  storage  space  is  ample,  Cardiff  itself  possessing, 
as  is  shown  in  Appendix  V.,  about  half  a  million  carcasses 
capacity,  an  accommodation  about  to  be  added  to  by  the 
Cardiff  Railway  Co.,  which  has  decided  to  spend  £40,000  on 
another  store  at  the  docks.  Cardiff,  the  chief  of  the  three 
fine  ports  on  the  seaboard  of  the  Bristol  Channel — Cardiff, 
Swansea,  and  Newport — is  likely  to  have  a  brilliant  future  as 
a  centre  for  the  distribution  of  frozen  meat  and  other 
refrigerated  produce,  especially  if  it  can  hold  its  own  against 
A\onmouth — its  aggressive  corporation-owned  rival  farther  up 
the  Channel.  A  considerable  business  has  been  done  in  the  city 
and  district  of  Cardiff  in  frozen  meat.  In  Cardiff  alone  there 


218     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

are  about  200  shops  dealing  exclusively  with  this  article,  and 
one  firm  of  importers,  Messrs.  H.  Woodley  and  Co.,  who  run  a 
number  of  retail  meat  establishments,  may  be  mentioned  as 
being  identified  with  the  trade  from  the  eighties  to  the  present 
time.  There  is  a  call  for  an  immense  quantity  of  frozen  meat, 
as  well  as  rabbits  and  butter,  in  the  Cardiff  district,  and  regular 
direct  shipments  would  expand  the  trade. 

The  Cardiff  district  includes  the  densely  populated  coalfields 
of  South  Wales,  which  are,  as  far  as  provisions  are  concerned, 
absolutely  non-producing.  Barry  is  included  in  the  port  of 
Cardiff,  and  has  large  up-to-date  cold  stores  alongside  the 
dock ;  Newport,  twelve  miles  off,  also  has  large  cold  stores 
close  to  the  railway  stations.  In  both  of  these  towns  the  public 
cold  stores  are  owned  by  the  Cardiff  Pure  Ice  and  Cold  Storage 
Co.,  Ltd.,  which  has  very  extensive  refrigerated  accommoda- 
tion, consisting  of  394,000  carcasses  in  Cardiff,  100,000  in 
Barry,  and  41,482  in  Newport.  The  managers,  Messrs.  Neale 
and  West,  have  been  associated  with  the  development  of  the 
direct  imports  of  Argentine  and  Australasian  frozen  meat  ever 
since  these  began,  over  twenty  years  ago.  Cardiff  is  a  fine 
centre  for  the  distribution  of  refrigerated  provisions  of  all 
sorts,  and  Australasian  exports  of  this  character  might  with 
advantage  be  sent  direct  to  that  port  to  a  greater  extent  than 
is  now  the  case. 

Bristol. 

Bristol,  at  the  Avonmouth  Docks,  has  provided  considerable 
up-to-date  facilities  for  the  import  of  frozen  meat.  Its  first 
supply  of  cold  storage  was,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  to  accom- 
modate the  Canadian  provision  trade,  for  which  a  small 
store  was  erected  in  1896.  It  was  in  1904  that  the 
Federal-Houlder-Shire  boats  began  to  call  at  Bristol  and 
land  some  of  their  New  Zealand  frozen  mutton  and  lamb 
at  Avonmouth ;  and  as  the  trade  proved  too  large  for  the 
existing  store  another  of  similar  capacity  was  provided  by 
insulating  a  portion  of  the  upper  floor  of  a  transit  shed  on  the 
west  side  of  the  Dock.  In  1907  the  importation  of  frozen  meat 


PROVINCIAL  DISTRIBUTION  219 

into  Avonmouth  began  from  Australia,  and  direct  shipments 
from  the  River  Plate  in  1011  have  helped  to  make  the  Bristol 
Docks  Committee  decide  upon  doubling  its  cold  storage 
accommodation . 

The  method  of  discharge  of  frozen  meat  at  Avonmouth  is  as 
follows.  The  meat  is  lifted  direct  from  the  hold  of  the 
vessel  and  delivered  into  the  reception  air-locked  chambers, 
six  of  which  serve  the  cold  store.  These  air  locks  are 
not  much  used  for  sorting  purposes ;  the  meat  in  the 
majority  of  cases  as  it  comes  from  the  steamer  is  sorted  as 
it  passes  through  the  small  door  in  the  end  of  the  store.  The 
air  locks  are  useful,  however,  for  sorting  purposes  if  the  stores 
are  crowded,  and  in  addition  it  is  possible  in  cold  weather  to 
make  use  of  the  air  locks  as  a  storage  chamber.  The  cold 
store  itself  is  alongside  the  steamer's  berth,  so  that  exposure  of 
the  meat  between  the  ship's  hold  and  the  cold  store  is  reduced 
to  a  minimum  by  the  method  of  working  referred  to.  Deliveries 
from  cold  store  are  made  by  shutes  direct  into  refrigerator 
railway  cars,  which  are  loaded  under  cover. 

Glasgow. 

The  imports  of  frozen  meat  at  the  port  of  Glasgow  during 
1911  showed  considerable  development,  and  the  prospects  at 
this  "  outport  "  for  shippers  in  the  Southern  Hemisphere  are 
quite  favourable.  It  is  true  that  quantities  of  frozen  meat 
landed  at  Glasgow  prior  to  and  during  1910  were  inconsider- 
able, but  the  shipping  facilities  were  limited.  Glasgow  is  the 
centre  of  the  Scotch  meat  trade  ;  it  has  a  convenient  whole- 
sale dead  meat  market,  and  a  large  quantity  of  Irish  meat  is 
handled  there.  Cold  stores  and  landing  and  discharging 
arrangements  are  available  for  carrying  on  the  imported 
frozen  and  chilled  meat  trade,  a  considerable  increase  in  \vhirh 
—especially  from  Australasia — may  be  anticipated.  (The 
discharging  facilities,  by  the  way,  would  bear  improvement.) 
Appendix  V.  shows  Glasgow  to  possess  cold  storage  accommo- 
dation equal  to  605,000  carcasses,  of  which  more  than  half  is 
at  the  stores  of  Messrs.  William  Milne,  Ltd.  (350,000),  and 


220      A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

150,000  at  the  stores  of  the  Union  Cold  Storage  Co.  Scotland 
has,  until  recent  years,  been  very  backward  in  taking  to 
frozen  meats  ;  considering  the  production  of  the  excellent 
beef  and  mutton  which  the  graziers  of  North  Britain  supply 
to  the  markets,  this  is  not  surprising.  But  the  Scotch  people 
in  the  cities  and  towns  are  now  becoming  customers  for 
frozen  meat.  The  Glasgow  market  dealt  with  New  Zealand 
boneless  beef  for  collops  until  this  trade  was  practically 
stopped  by  the  Public  Health  Acts  referred  to  at  page  122, 
but  a  promising  factor  in  the  development  of  direct  shipments 
to  this  port  is  the  fact  that  Glasgow  has  excellent  facilities 
for  absorbing  large  quantities  of  frozen  beef  of  good  secondary 
grade  to  take  the  place  of  the  said  boneless  beef,  which,  in  large 
quantities,  was  formerly  placed — mainly  by  the  North  American 
shippers — on  the  Glasgow  market. 

Hull. 

Hull  as  a  produce  centre  has  aspirations  far  beyond  the 
position  it  holds  as  a  receiving  port  for  the  European  ship- 
ments of  eggs,  poultry,  game,  butter,  etc.,  coming  to  England. 
It  is  anxious  for  more  frozen  meat  imports,  stating  that  owing 
to  its  railway  distributing  facilities  it  is  one  of  the  cheapest 
centres  of  distribution  for  one  quarter  of  the  population  of  the 
United  Kingdom  inhabiting  about  a  fifth  of  its  area.  This  is  a 
big  claim,  and  as  yet  frozen  meat  does  not  bulk  largely  among 
Hull's  imports.  The  Humber  port  possesses  four  cold  stores, 
one,  of  54,000  carcasses  capacity,  leased  by  the  Compania 
Sansinena,  and  situated  at  the  Alexandra  Dock  ;  a  town  cold 
store,  of  40,000  carcasses  capacity,  owned  by  the  Union  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  Ltd. ;  another  store  run  by  the  same  company  is 
in  the  Sir  William  Wright  Dock,  of  200,000  carcasses  capacity, 
and  one  at  the  Alexandra  Dock,  of  50,000  carcasses  capacity, 
also  belongs  to  the  Union  Cold  Storage  Co.  Frozen  and  chilled 
meat  is  brought  from  the  Argentine  for  the  Sansinena  Co.  by  the 
Houlder  liners,  and  for  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  by  the 
Royal  Mail  Steam  Packet  Co.'s  vessels.  The  Federal-Houlder- 
Shire  Line  now  books  refrigerated  cargo  from  Australia  to  Hull 


PROVINCIAL   DISTRIBUTION  221 

under  direct  bill  of  lading,  certain  boats  in  that  service  making 
Hull  a  port  of  call.  The  completion  of  the  Hull  Joint  Dock, 
which  will  be  owned  shortly  by  the  Hull  and  Barnsley  and 
North  Eastern  Railway  Cos.,  will  give  Hull  the  largest  dock 
in  the  world,  as  its  water  area  is  to  be  86  acres. 


The  Country  Trade  :  General  Observations. 

In  addition  to  the  frozen  meat  shipments  going  direct  to  the 
"  outports,"  considerable  quantities  landed  by  steamer  in 
London  are  railed  direct  to  the  great  marketing  centres, 
where  there  are  ample  storage  and  sale  facilities.  Meat  so 
railed  from  London  docks  or  store  goes,  as  a  rule,  right  to  the 
retailer,  the  goods  which  are  stored  in  the  provincial  ports 
usually  being  meat  shipped  direct  to  those  ports.  All  classes 
of  frozen  meats  are  more  or  less  saleable  in  the  Provinces, 
although  particular  descriptions  are  required  for  particular 
districts.  Generally  speaking,  the  country  trade  calls  for 
lighter  weight  carcasses  of  mutton  and  lamb  and  quarters  of 
beef  than  that  required  by  London  buyers.  But  fat  carcasses 
find  favour  in  agricultural  districts. 

Practically  the  whole  of  England  is  carefully  worked  by 
commercial  travellers  on  behalf  of  the  great  distributing  houses. 
If  any  Australians  or  New  Zealanders  think,  because  the  great 
bulk  of  their  meat  is  landed  at  London,  that  the  forty  millions 
of  people  outside  London  are  neglected,  they  fall  into  a  deplor- 
able error.  The  whole  of  England,  much  of  Scotland,  and  all 
Wales — Ireland  has  yet  to  be  converted — have  been  opened 
up  to  frozen  meat  (see  the  information  given  in  the  preceding 
chapter).  The  country  trade  was  first  tapped  by  the  dis- 
tributing firms  handling  Australasian  meat — Nelson  Brothers, 
Borthwick's,  etc. — before  the  Argentine  meat  was  good  enough 
for  the  country  trade.  Depots  were  opened  at  places  like 
Plymouth  and  Middlesbrough,  which  experience  has  since 
shown  were  not  good  distributing  centres.  The  retailers,  then, 
in  the  country  are  supplied  by  the  distributing  firms  in  London, 
per  railway,  or  they  get  their  frozen  meat  from  Liverpool, 
Bristol,  Cardiff,  Glasgow,  Hull,  or  other  ports  to  which  it  has 


222     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

been  conveyed  by  steamer.  Provincial  operators  are  closely 
in  touch  with  the  metropolitan  market,  and  wholesale  values 
in  London  and  country  are  practically  the  same.  Railway 
rates  for  frozen  meat  from  London  to  the  various  centres 
depend  to  some  extent  upon  the  quantities  forwarded.  The 
rates  on  3-ton  lots  are  as  follow :  to  Cardiff,  25s. ;  Bristol, 
20s. ;  Liverpool,  25s. ;  Glasgow,  53s.  4d.  under  20  tons,  and 
45s.  over  20  tons.  For  England  %d.  per  Ib.  covers  this  item, 
roughly  speaking  ;  for  Scotland,  \d.  per  Ib. 

By  firms  owning  numerous  retail  shops  very  large  quantities 
of  frozen  meat  are  distributed  without  passing  through  the 
open  markets,  and  this  may  be  said  generally  of  all  kinds  of 
frozen  meat  handled  in  English  country  parts.  The  Argentine 
people,  who  exploited  the  provinces  from  Liverpool  as  their 
headquarters  twenty-five  years  ago,  were  until  recently  much 
more  at  home  there  than  the  firms  distributing  Australasian 
meat.  The  former  have  their  offices,  wholesale  and  retail,  on 
the  spot,  their  arrangements  are  cut  and  dried,  and  there  is  a 
regular  all-the-year-round  demand.  Country  markets  are  very 
easily  over-supplied  and  cannot  absorb  (as  can  Smithfield) 
unlimited  quantities  of  meat,  even  at  low  prices.  All  classes 
and  qualities  of  meat  are  distributed  throughout  the  country  ; 
London  and  the  South  Coast  take  the  highest  quality.  Price 
lists  are  issued  weekly  by  the  Colonial  Consignment  and  Distri- 
buting Co.,  Ltd.,  Thomas  Borthwick  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  W.  and  R. 
Fletcher,  Ltd.,  Towers  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  others.  These  houses 
issue  pamphlets,  leaflets,  and  illustrated  circulars,  got  up  in  a 
very  attractive  style. 

Turning  to  the  question  of  direct  shipments  from  the 
Southern  Hemisphere,  this  notice  of  the  country  trade  may  be 
concluded  with  a  few  lines  giving  a  sketchy  idea  of  the 
characteristics  of  the  various  centres,  from  the  point  of  view 
of  the  importer  of  Australasian  frozen  meat,  more  on  general 
lines  than  the  specific  information  contained  in  the  articles 
above.  Liverpool,  by  far  the  most  important  of  the  "  outports," 
the  only  port  and  trade  centre  which  offers  any  serious  rivalry  to 
London,  has  largely  increased  its  importance  as  a  frozen  meat 
port  and  centre  during  the  last  few  years.  It  distributes 


PROVINCIAL  DISTRIBUTION 

throughout  the  Midlands,  well  across  to  the  East  Coast,  and 
as  far  North-East  as  Newcastle.      The  sphere  of  influence 
of  Liverpool,  however,  in  the  direction  of  the  East  Coast  is 
being  checked  by  Hull,  at  which  fine  port  large  cold  stores 
have  been  erected,  and  to  which  city  South  American  direct 
shipments  of  meat  are  sent.     When  the  new  dock  referred 
to  above  is  completed,  Liverpool's  claim  to  be  the  distributing 
centre  for  the  North  of  England  may  be  further  disputed.    In 
the  Liverpool  trade  lean,  small  carcasses  are  preferred,  distinctly 
interior — from   a  Londoner's  point  of   view — to  the  quality 
handled  in  the  London  market.     This   may  arise  from   the 
fact  that  a  large  proportion  of  the  population  are  operatives  in 
ironworks,  cotton  mills,  and  other  factories,  where  the  tempera- 
ture is  high,  and,  as  usual  in  hot  climates,  the  consumer  has 
no  appetite  for  fat  meat.    Manchester  has  been  a  bit  of  a 
disappointment  to  frozen  meat  people.    The  Ship  Canal  was  to 
have  been  a  highway  for  argosies  laden  with  the  refrigerated 
produce  of  New  Zealand  and  Australia,  but  some  error  was 
made  in  these  sanguine  anticipations,  for  Cottonopolis  imported 
direct  in  1910  only  Australian  lambs ;   a  bubble  burst,  indeed, 
when  one  remembers  the  efforts  made  years  ago  to  attract 
direct  shipments  to  Manchester.     But  although  Manchester 
receives  a  certain  quantity  of  meat  shipped  to  that  port,  the 
shipowner  largely  takes  advantage  of  the  option  in  his  bill  of 
lading,  and  elects  to  rail  to  Manchester  a  portion  of  his  cargo 
of  meat  from  Liverpool  in  preference  to   the   expense    of 
sending  his  vessel  up  the  Canal.     Cardiff  is  a  large  consumer 
of  frozen  produce,  and  a  very  satisfactory  and  growing  trade  is 
done  in  that  district.     The  Argentine  companies  have  been 
shipping  to  Cardiff    for  many  years,  and  do  a  considerable 
business  there.     Owing  to  the  West  Coast  service  calling  at 
Avonmouth  (Bristol),  few  direct  shipments  of  frozen  meat  from 
Australia  or  New  Zealand  are  now  being  sent  to  the  Welsh  port, 
which  is  a  pity,  as  Cardiff  possesses  all  the  points  which  suggest 
an  admirable  port  and  centre  for  the  reception  and  distribution 
of  Australasian  frozen  meat  and  is  the  centre  of  a  big  meat 
consuming  population,  amongst  whom  retail  distribution  has 
become  well  organized.     Bristol  has  not  in  itself  been  a  very 


224     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

satisfactory  market  for  direct  importations.  The  trade  done 
there  is  of  a  healthy  description  as  far  as  it  goes,  but  demand 
has  not  responded  to  the  direct  West  Coast  service  shipments 
on  the  scale  that  might  have  been  expected  from  a  city  and 
district  with  such  a  large  population.  Much  of  the  meat 
landed  at  Bristol  is  forwarded  by  rail  to  Cardiff  for  distri- 
bution— an  unbusinesslike  course  forced  upon  shippers  by  the 
lack  of  direct  freight  to  the  Welsh  port.  Glasgow  is  a  useful 
market  for  some  special  grades  of  beef  and  for  New  Zealand 
lambs  of  good  quality,  especially  hi  the  earlier  part  of  the 
season  before  Scotch  lambs  have  matured  fit  for  the  market ; 
and  a  steadily  increasing  demand  may  be  hoped  for  from  the 
Clyde  port  as  frozen  meat  becomes  more  popular  in  the  cities 
of  Scotland.  Glasgow  has  not  had  a  fair  chance  of  developing 
into  such  a  frozen  meat  centre  as  the  importance  of  the  city 
and  its  situation  entitle  it  to,  owing  to  the  service  of  refrigerated 
vessels  being  very  limited.  For  some  reason  no  South  American 
frozen  meat  was  despatched  direct  to  Glasgow  in  1910.  Glasgow 
is  the  most  likely  "  outport "  to  increase  during  the  next 
few  years  in  the  handling  of  direct-despatched  shipments  of 
frozen  meat. 

What  has  been  the  effect  of  these  "  outport"  markets  upon 
general  values  ?  An  answer  is  ready,  covering  part  of  the 
subject,  in  stating  that  the  premium  which,  before  the  days  of 
direct  imports,  frozen  meat — railed  from  London— enjoyed  in 
the  provincial  centres  has  disappeared.  Prior  to  the  establish- 
ment of  the  West  Coast  service,  the  London  importing  houses 
in  supplying  their  country  customers  were  careful  to  make  a 
good  selection  of  meat  that  would  stand  the  railway  journey 
and  which  would  meet  their  clients'  requirements  in  every 
way,  and  for  frozen  meat  thus  placed  upon  provincial  markets 
a  premium  of  about  Id.  per  stone  of  8  Ibs.,  especially  for 
New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb,  over  the  London  ruling  rates, 
plus  carriage,  was  usually  obtainable.  As  competition  became 
pronounced,  say,  about  1903,  1904,  and  1905,  and  vessels  landed 
meat  at  the  ports  of  the  West  Coast,  supplies  of  frozen  meats 
became  obtainable  at  these  ports  at  the  London  rates,  and 
now  mutton  and  lamb  from  South  America  and  Australasia  in 


IM{0\IN(I\I.    hl-TIUH!  TI<>\ 

London   and   provincial  markets  practically  have  the  same 
value. 

As  direct  despatch  of  frozen  meat  from  Australia  and  New 
Zealand  to  the  ports  of  the  United  Kingdom,  following  the 
example  sot  by  the  Argentine  shippers  in  dividing  their  con- 
signments between  London  and  country,  became  possible  in 
1903,  the  "  opening  up  "  of  the  "  outports  "  in  the  Australasian 
interest  was  a  matter  of  course.  There  was  a  great  quantity 
of  meat  to  be  despatched  to  Great  Britain,  and  the  farmers  and 
meat  works  managers,  in  taking  advantage  of  the  opportunity  to 
divide  their  goods  between  London  and  provincial  ports,  adhered 
to  the  principle  of  wide  distribution  throughout  their  marketing 
area.  It  is  probable  that  the  aggregate  output  of  Australasian 
frozen  meat  has  during  the  last  eight  years  expanded  with  less 
falling  of  values  to  the  producers  by  reason  of  the  development 
of  direct  supplies  to  the  "  outports  "  than  would  have  been  the 
case  had  all  the  meat  been  consigned  to  London — which  would 
have  staggered  had  it  been  made  to  bear  the  whole  burden  of 
imports,  notwithstanding  its  splendid  distributing  facilities. 
There  are,  however,  well  recognized  limits  of  usefulness  to 
oversea  shippers  in  the  "outport"  markets;  these  country 
centres  tend  to  become  competitive,  and  their  capacity  for 
dealing  with  large  quantities  of  meat  has  nothing  of  the 
expansiveness  and  elasticity  which  constitute  London's  great 
attractiveness.  There  is  also  to  be  considered  that  there  is  a 
tendency  at  the  "  outports  "  for  the  demand  to  be  more  or 
less  for  only  one  grade  of  any  kind  of  meat.  For  instance,  at 
Bristol  light  lambs  are  preferred,  at  Liverpool  secondary 
lambs,  while  at  Glasgow  the  market  is  chiefly  for  medium 
weight  lambs.  Bristol  and  Liverpool  both  ask  for  very  light 
mutton,  while  Glasgow,  on  the  contrary,  requires  heavy 
mutton.  Of  late  years  there  have  been  occasions  when  these 
markets  in  the  provinces  have  become  congested,  with  the 
result  that  mutton  and  lamb — South  American  particularly — 
sold  under  London  values. 


F.M. 


CHAPTER  XVI 

CUSTOMERS   IN   OTHER  LANDS 

WHEN  Mr.  Mort  in  his  Lithgow  Valley  speech  heralded  the 
era  of  frozen  meat  exports,  he  had  in  view  the  markets  of 
England,  and  those  only.  For  the  first  few  years  of  the 
business  there  were  no  efforts  made  by  the  exporters  of 
Australia  and  New  Zealand  to  ship  frozen  meat  to  other 
parts  than  the  Mother  Country,  and  they  centred  their  energies 
upon  popularizing  their  mutton  and  beef  with  the  English 
people.  Indeed,  to  the  present  day  New  Zealand  does  practi- 
cally no  "  foreign  "  trade  in  frozen  meat.  It  was  not  so, 
however,  with  the  Argentine  meat  exporters,  who,  owing  to 
the  greater  suitability  of  their  produce  for  Continental  needs, 
early  devoted  themselves  to  pushing  their  goods  in  European 
countries.  In  many  ways  Argentina  took  up  and  prosecuted 
the  frozen  meat  trade  on  broader  lines  than  did  Austral- 
asia. Her  grasp  of  the  general  position  and  prospects  of 
the  enterprise  was  thorough  and  intelligent,  and  quite  early 
in  the  trade's  developments  the  Argentine  companies  perceived 
that  frozen  meat  was  an  article  whose  possibilities  of  distribu- 
tion were  world- wide.  Whilst  Argentina  adhered  to  the 
business  principle  "  not  to  put  all  your  eggs  into  one  basket," 
Australasia  was  doggedly  pounding  away  at  her  one  market, 
London,  which,  of  course,  showed  a  marked  preference  for 
New  Zealand  and  Australian  meat  as  compared  with  Argentine 
in  the  early  days  of  the  trade. 

Attempts  on  the  Continent. 

Belgium. — The  first  signs  of  departure  from  this  principle 
were,  perhaps,  to  be  noted  in  the  despatch  to  Antwerp  in  1885 
by  Messrs.  Nelson  Brothers  of  the  hulk  (alluded  to  on  p.  378) 
which  they  had  sent  to  Plymouth  with  10,000  carcasses.  The 
craft  was  loaded  with  meat  for  a  Belgian  syndicate  which  had 


CUSTOMERS  IN   OTHER   LANDB 

takon  up  very  thoroughly  the  idea  of  importing  frozen  meat. 
I'.'-Li  IM  company  had  gone  into  the  question  deeply,  they 
had  shops  in  Antwerp,  Brussels,  Liege,  and  other  Belgian  towns, 
appointed  agents,  and  advertised  the  meat  well.  For  a  time 
the  sales  were  satisfactory,  but  after  a  while  I  lie  drinaiitl  died 
away.  The  people  did  not  take  kindly  to  the  meat,  and  finally 
the  hulk  had  to  bring  back  the  unsold  carcasses.  The 
Belgians  insisted  on  the  carcasses  bearing  the  lungs,  which 
were  frozen  in  New  Zealand.  To  inaugurate  this  departure, 
Nelson  Brothers  entertained  the  Belgian  Burgomasters  on 
frozen  mutton  at  Cannon  Street  Hotel  when  Mr.  de  Keyser 
was  Lord  Mayor.  The  freezing  hulk  did  not  cease  her  con- 
nection with  the  frozen  meat  trade  with  her  double  failure  at 
Plymouth  and  Antwerp.  She  was  sent  to  New  Zealand  to 
act  as  temporary  freezing  works,  and  is  now,  after  fifty  years 
of  stout  service,  still  afloat. 

The  "battlefield  of  Europe  "  has  always  looked  a  likely 
customer  for  frozen  meat,  as  she  is  a  heavy  importer  of  meat. 
Belgium,  as  mentioned  above,  first  attracted  shipments  of 
New  Zealand  meat,  and  Argentina  followed  up  this  trade 
in  a  determined  fashion.  A  small  duty,  available  storage, 
and  energetic  local  butchering  co-operation,  were  more  than 
merchants  handling  frozen  meat  could  resist.  A  Brussels 
butcher  made  £40,000  in  five  years  dealing  in  foreign  meat 
in  his  two  shops.  Messrs.  Jules  Renard  and  Co.,  of  Antwerp 
and  Melbourne,  acting  for  Australian  meat  houses,  endeavoured 
to  get  frozen  meat  into  Belgium,  but  the  "  Lung  Law,"  under 
which  no  meat  could  be  imported  into  Belgium  without  the 
lung  adhering  to  the  carcass,  proved  a  stumbling  block.  This 
statute  was  repealed  in  1894  as  to  sheep,  but  it  is  still  in  force 
with  cattle.  In  1904  the  Sansinena  Co.  made  another  effort 
to  open  the  Continent  to  refrigerated  meat  supplies.  In 
connection  with  the  company's  tallow  business  in  Belgium, 
the  idea  of  forming  a  separate  company  for  the  importation 
of  frozen  meat  was  entertained.  Two  shipments  of  meat 
were  made  to  Antwerp,  the  beef  having  to  be  sent  in  sides. 
The  result  of  the  shipments  was  unsatisfactory,  and  no 
established  business  followed. 

Q  2 


228     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN    MEAT  TRADE, 

France. — In  1886  the  New  Zealand  Loan  Co.  tried  Paris  with 
one  or  two  small  parcels  ;  however,  we  hear  of  no  satisfactory 
business  following.  Probably  the  expenses  of  the  venture 
checked  further  trials — the  costs  from  discharge  in  London  to 
selling  in  Paris  came  to  2|d.  per  Ib.  Nothing  more  as  regards 
Australasia  seems  to  have  been  done  till  early  in  the  nineties, 
when  the  shippers  of  Queensland  beef — the  graziers  were  then 
taking  the  market  risks  themselves — began  discussing  with 
their  London  agents  the  advisability  of  looking  for  "  extra 
outlets." 

The  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  had  a  depot  of  its  own  in 
Paris  nearly  twenty  years  ago,  starting  its  business  there  early 
in  1892,  but  giving  up  its  cold  store  there  in  1893.  The  company, 
in  the  search  for  a  fresh  outlet,  went  to  the  expense  of  fitting 
up  a  special  store  and  sent  two  boats  into  Havre.  They  found 
it  very  unremunerative,  for  after  they  had  spent  their  money 
and  made  all  arrangements,  the  French  Government  put  a 
lot  of  restrictions  in  the  way,  and  they  were  compelled  to  give 
it  up.  One  of  the  principal  restrictions  was  that  the  lungs, 
heart,  etc.,  had  to  remain  hi  the  carcass,  which  had  to  be  cut 
up  into  four  separate  quarters — that  prevails  now,  and,  of 
course,  is  prohibitive.  This  regulation,  which  was  added  to 
the  tariff  law  of  1892  at  the  request  of  the  agrarians,  is 
applied  to  all  imported  meat  except  Algerian.  But  a  trade  is 
regularly  done  in  legs  of  mutton  and  rumps  of  beef  with  Parisian 
salesmen — which  meat,  by  special  regulation,  eludes  the  Act, 
which  expressly  states  that  no  frozen  meat  is  to  be  imported 
into  France  without  the  animal  organs.  The  River  Plate  Co. 
chartered  an  old  hulk,  the  Robert  Morrison,  when  they  put  up 
their  store  in  Paris,  discharging  into  the  hulk  from  their  ocean 
steamers.  The  hulk,  in  fact,  was  a  bonded  store  for  the  time 
being,  and  the  company  had  to  send  over  butchers  to  cut  up 
the  carcasses. 

The  position  of  France  differs  from  that  of  Germany  in  this 
important  way  :  the  latter  country  has  a  deficiency  in  food 
supplies  for  the  nation,  whereas  France  grows  food  enough. 
But  notwithstanding  this,  France  at  an  early  date  attracted 
frozen  meat  imports.  The  efforts  of  the  Sansinena  Co.  are 


n>TMM].;n<  IN  OTIII :u    LAND- 

referred  to  on  p.  82  ;  and  this  firm,  which  opened  depots  in 
three  French  cities,  did  a  considerable  trade  in  connection  with 
them  until  the  agriculturists,  taking  fright,  brought  pressure 
to  bear  upon  the  Government  to  raise  the  import  duty  from 
3  to  12  centimes  per  kilo.,  and  in  1891  to  33  centimes,  which, 
with  the  octroi,  12  centimes,  brought  up  the  total  import  duty 
to  about  2d.  a  Ib.  Still  the  Argentine-Franco  meat  trade 
continued,  and  in  1891  100,000  Argentine  carcasses  of  mutton 
were  imported,  while  in  1896  over  that  number  were  sent  to 
France.  But  by  1900  the  record  was  a  sorry  one,  the  trade 
having  dwindled  to  one  of  4,000  carcasses.  The  regulations 
as  to  frozen  meat  imported  into  France  having  to  be  accom- 
panied by  the  organs  of  the  animals  were  really  protection 
in  disguise. 

Why  should  the  Parisians  have  to  eat  over  50,000  horses  a 
year  ?  They  could  have,  if  they  liked,  at  less  than  the  cost  of 
this  unnutritious  meat,  good  beef  and  mutton  from  Australasia 
and  South  America.  But  for  harassing  regulations  and  biting 
tariffs  frozen  meat  could  well  hold  its  own  when  shipped  direct 
from  the  country  of  production.  Meat  can  be  produced  in 
South  America  and  Australasia  at  a  lower  cost  than  in  any 
country  of  the  world.  In  this  connection  there  may  be  given 
the  following  quotation  from  an  article  in  Cold  Storage  of 
March  19,  1908,  by  Mr.  P.  B.  Proctor  :  "A  rough  average  of 
the  c.i.f.  value  of  Argentine  or  Australian  meat  would  be 
about  :\'f.  per  Ik.  and  it  is  sufficient  to  point  out  that  on  this 
figure  the  Italian  duty  amounts  to  about  36  per  cent.,  the 
French  duty  to  about  43  per  cent.,  and  the  German  duty  to 
about  62  per  cent,  ad  valorem." 

Germany. — The  early  nineties  were  a  period  of  seething 
activity  in  the  frozen  meat  trade.  Meat  came  along  in  great 
l)u Ik,  beyond  the  capacity  of  London  to  deal  with  it,  and 
the  frozen  meat  firms  put  out  feelers  in  the  countries  of 
Europe  to  see  what  could  be  done  there.  Germany  was  the 
goal  striven  for ;  the  industrial  movement  there,  at  that  time 
t. iking  definite  form,  encouraged  America  and  Australasia  in 
the  idea  that  the  standard  of  living  in  Germany  would  be  raised 
in  the  direction  of  an  increased  consumption  of  animal  food. 


230     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

But  the  great  Agrarian  Party  became  alarmed,  and  immediately 
set  up  the  agitation  which  resulted  in  the  passing  in  1903 
of  the  meat  "  inspection  "  law,  more  correctly  termed  the 
"  meat  exclusion  "  law.  German  imports  of  fresh  beef  from 
neighbouring  countries  (Denmark  and  Holland)  in  1899 
showed  a  400  per  cent,  increase  as  compared  with  1897  ;  cattle 
of  all  kinds,  on  the  other  hand,  fell  off  from  307,000  to  268,000. 
The  agrarians  in  Germany  possessed  enormous  power  and 
thus  they  succeeded  in  securing  the  "  protection "  they 
clamoured  for.  The  United  States  of  America  meat  packers, 
who  shipped  350,000  cwts.  of  preserved  meats  to  Germany  in 
1899,  protested  vigorously  against  the  measure  that  prohibited 
the  entry  of  their  goods,  but  without  success.  So  the  conditions 
were  not  propitious  in  1892 — 1893  for  introducing  frozen  beef 
into  Germany. 

Still,  something  had  to  be  done,  for  Queensland  beef  was 
arriving  in  London  at  the  rate  of  1,500  tons  a  month.  Hamburg 
was  attacked  at  the  end  of  1892  by  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and  Co., 
with  the  object  of  distributing  the  Queensland  beef  through 
North  Germany,  the  import  duty  being  \d.  per  Ib.  Satis- 
factory arrangements  as  to  storage  in  Hamburg  having  been 
made,  a  bold  step  was  taken  in  1893  in  despatching  direct  to 
that  port  from  Townsville,  Queensland,  the  sailing  freezer 
Turakina  with  300  tons  of  frozen  beef.  The  venture  began 
auspiciously,  but  in  the  end  proved  a  disaster  to  the  German 
owners  of  this  meat,  owing  to  the  opposition  raised  by  the 
butchers  throughout  the  country,  though  the  meat  was  of 
excellent  quality  when  landed  and  the  whole  enterprise  well 
managed.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  opening  of  separate  shops 
for  the  sale  of  frozen  meat  was  one  great  mistake  commonly 
made  in  foreign  countries.  The  sale  of  the  meat  in  existing 
establishments  would  have  been  far  less  likely  to  arouse  the 
antagonism  of  the  Continental  butchers.  These  might  have 
been  encouraged  to  secure  profits  out  of  the  trade  from  the 
outset  in  their  own  shops,  though,  of  course,  import  duties 
were  always  calculated  to  afford  frozen  meat  a  smaller  margin 
of  profit  as  compared  with  home-killed  than  was  the  case  at 
the  start  of  the  trade  in  England. 


(  I>T<>MLKS  IN  in  HI.K   LANDS 

Before  this  the  General  Steam  Navigation  Co.  insulated  one 
of  their  steamers  for  Messrs.  Weddel,  in  order  to  convey  frozen 
beef  from  London  to  Hamburg.  The  market  price  for  the 
beef  in  that  city  was  3|d.  per  Ib.  for  prime  quality  meat. 
Mr.  H.  Kirsten  was  responsible  for  this  enterprise,  and  shops 
were  opened  at  Hamburg  specially  for  the  sale  of  frozen  beef, 


Hohe  Bloichen  36/37 


and  tho  public  at  first  thronged  them,  the  police  being  actually 
employed  to  regulate  tho  crowds.  But  the  trade  flagged, 
both  wholesale  and  retail,  the  meat  hung  on  hand,  and  this, 
coupled  with  the  poor  financial  returns,  forced  the  relinquish- 
incnt  of  a  promising  enterprise,  which  had  meant  the  shipment 
of  about  1,500  tons  of  beef.  The  above  facsimile  reproduc- 
tion of  the  price  list  of  one  of  the  frozen  meat  shops  opened 
at  Hamburg  in  1893  may  stand  as  a  rctnindt T  of  this  premature 
effort  to  place  frozen  meat  before  the  Germans. 


A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN    MEAT  TRADE 

No  country  seems  in  a  better  position  statistically  for  frozen 
meat  exploitation  than  Germany.  Of  late  years  her  meat 
supplies  have  been  heavily  depleted,  and  the  working  classes 
in  1905  raised  considerable  outcry  about  high  prices  for  food, 
all  the  sections  of  the  industrial  life  of  the  nation  support- 
ing the  demand  for  modification  of  the  regulations  dealing 
with  meat  imports.  The  answer  on  the  part  of  the  Govern- 
ment— impelled  by  the  agrarians  —  was  a  new  tariff  wall 
higher  by  50  to  70  per  cent.  !  The  temper  of  the  German 
Government  affords  no  hope  of  relaxation,  but  the  General 
Election  of  1912  may  ultimately  result  favourably  for  those 
Germans  who  desire  to  see  a  more  generous  diet  placed  before 
the  people.  The  meat  consumption  of  the  German  working 
man  is  small  compared  with  that  of  his  rival  in  Britain,  and  in 
order  that  the  splendid  country  of  Germany  may  benefit  fully 
by  the  output  of  her  sons  engaged  in  her  vast  industrial 
activities  it  will  be  necessary  to  permit  of  the  import  of  fresh 
meats  under  reasonable  conditions. 

Austria. — Part  of  the  Turakina's  previously  mentioned 
meat  cargo  was  despatched  to  Vienna  by  Messrs.  Weddel,  and 
there  again  the  opposition  of  the  butchers  had  to  be  reckoned 
with.  Considerable  pomp  attended  the  first  arrival  of  Queens- 
land beef  in  the  Austrian  capital,  as  will  be  seen  from  the 
following  extract  from  the  Wiener  Tageblatt  of  June  24,  1893. 

A  large  consignment  of  meat  has  just  come  to  hand  at  a  time  when  the  supply 
of  meat  from  Vienna  threatens  to  fall  short  on  account  of  the  scarcity  of  cattle  in 
the  monarchy.  The  shipment  comprises  1,600  Australian  oxen  preserved  in  ice 
from  the  effects  of  temperature.  To-day  the  first  wagon  is  due  at  Vienna,  and 
others  will  follow  on.  The  meat  will  be  sold  next  Tuesday  in  the  places  of  the 
Society  of  Victuallers  at  the  Central  Market,  and  also  in  the  district  markets.  The 
price  is  60  kreuzers  for  first  quality  of  hinds  and  50  kreuzers  for  first  quality  of 
fores,  but  it  is  anticipated  that  prices  will  fall  whenever  the  contractors  organize 
the  sale  in  the  market  places  on  their  own  account.  The  Court  Counsellor  Oser 
said  that  so  that  there  might  be  no  doubt  about  the  good  condition  of  the  Austra- 
lian meat,  he  had  ordered  the  Court  Counsellor  Professor  and  Dr.  M.  Grlibe  to  inspect 
the  meat  and  report  as  to  its  nourishing  properties.  Afterwards  these  gentlemen 
visited  the  Mayor,  at  the  Town  Hall,  to  obtain  his  consent  and  support  with  regard 
to  the  sale  of  the  Australian  meat  in  Vienna.  The  Mayor  replied  that  he  had  some 
knowledge  of  Australian  meat,  having  eaten  it  and  fouud  it  very  good  and 
appetising.  He  also  stated  that  he  would  do  his  utmost  to  introduce  the  meat  to 
the  public. 

Both  at  Hamburg  and  Vienna  municipal  assistance  was 
forthcoming.  But  the  opposition  of  local  interests  and  improv- 
ing prices  in  London  checked  the  business.  The  Argentine 


(  rsTOMERS  IN  OTHER   LANDS 

shippers  took  advantage  of  the  situation  to  despatch  a  train- 
load  of  frozen  meat  from  Antwerp,  but  its  entry  into  Austria 
was  prohibited,  and  the  country  remained  closed  to  frozen  meat 
until  the  recent  shipments  from  Argentina  which  followed  the 
inquiry  set  on  foot  in  1910  and  the  visit  of  an  Austrian 
delegation  to  Great  Britain. 

Other  European  Countries. 

Before  going  farther  afield,  let  us  glance  at  the  remaining 
European  States  to  which  frozen  meat  has  been  sent.  Race 
feeling  naturally  tempted  Argentina  to  exploit  the  land  of  her 
fathers,  though,  sad  to  say,  proud  Spain  did  not  for  a  long 
time  respond  in  proper  parental  style.  A  company  was  formed 
in  Madrid  some  years  ago  to  sell  Argentine  meat  in  the  city, 
and  a  shipment  was  despatched.  As  the  business  collapsed, 
it  is  fair  to  suppose  that  either  the  demand  was  disappointing 
or  that  other  difficulties  prevailed.  It  does  not  appear  that 
Australian  meat  was  ever  imported  into  Spain,  though  the 
formation  of  a  butchers'  syndicate  at  Barcelona  for  the  purpose 
of  such  a  trade  would  make  it  seem  that  Spain  is  at  last  ripe 
for  a  frozen  meat  venture  of  some  kind. 

Italy  welcomed  refrigerated  meat  in  1905  with  small  samples 
from  North  and  South  America,  sent  to  the  Magazzini  Frigori- 
feri  Genovesi's  modern  stores  at  Genoa.  In  1906  the  purchases 
and  total  imports  were  1,300  tons,  of  which  300  tons  of  Queens- 
land beef  and  mutton  arrived  by  the  Indraghiri,  and  200  tons 
of  Argentine  beef  by  the  Zero  from  the  River  Plate  Co.  Signor 
Fausto  Scerno,  the  founder  of  the  stores,  wrote  as  follows  : 
"  We  commenced  better  than  England,  where,  in  1875,  the 
total  import  was  about  800  tons.  In  1907  we  imported  about 
1,000  tons  ;  low  figures,  if  you  compare  them  with  the  grand 
total  of  517,000  tons  imported  into  England,  but  quite  enough 
to  prove  that  business  in  Italy  has  started  much  better  and 
earlier  than  in  France  and  Germany."  Two  experimental 
parcels  were  landed  at  Naples  in  1907  from  Australia.  In  1910 
the  imports  from  all  sources  aggregated  nearly  3,000  tons. 

A  market  for  frozen  meat  appeared  four  years  ago  in  Sweden. 
A  Stockholm  merchant  imported,  and  still  imports,  from 


234     A   HISTORY   OF  THE    FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

London  small  quantities  of  Australian  mutton  and  lamb 
regularly.  Switzerland,  each  of  whose  Cantons,  by  the  way, 
has  its  own  import  regulations,  is  pretty  bare  of  meat  in  the 
tourist  seasons,  and  some  of  the  frozen  meat  sent  to  Genoa  finds 
its  way  to  Zurich.  Mr.  Coghlan,  Agent-General  for  New  South 
Wales  in  London,  worked  hard  in  1908-1909  to  secure  entry 
for  Australian  meat  into  the  Swiss  Republic,  and  got  the 
British  Foreign  Office  to  intervene.  The  Central  Government 
was  impressed,  but  from  the  following  information  from  the 
Argentine  Consul,  indicative  of  the  present  position,  it  would 
seem  that  the  impression  did  not  sink  deeply.  "  The  importa- 
tion of  meat  preserved  by  an  artificial  freezing  process  will 
only  be  allowed  on  the  special  authority  of  the  Federal  Home 
Office,  request  for  which  will  be  necessary  to  be  made  by  the 
Cantonal  Government.  This  meat  will  only  be  able  to  be 
sold  on  a  clear  understanding  as  to  its  nature  and  origin  and 
complying  with  the  conditions  stipulated  in  the  Home  Office 
Authority  with  the  view  of  protecting  the  health  of  the  con- 
sumers." Nevertheless,  small  parcels  of  Australian  and 
Argentine  beef  are  now  going  into  Switzerland  regularly 
through  London. 

How  great  the  prize  of  new  custom  must  be  when  it  is  won 
is  patent  to  everyone,  but  how  great  the  need  is  for  the 
diversion  of  heavy  supplies  from  existing  markets,  only  those  in 
touch  with  the  frozen  meat  markets  can  tell.  The  situation 
in  Europe  was  never  so  promising  as  at  present,  but  much  has 
yet  to  be  done  before  a  trade  of  big  dimensions  is  opened  out. 

Were  it  possible  to  get  a  footing  for  frozen  meat  in  the  fair 
land  of  France,  or  in  Germany,  what  a  godsend  it  would  be  for 
Argentina  and  Australia,  with  their  surpluses  of  stock  !  But 
the  main  outstanding  fact  that  these  countries  manage 
to  supply  themselves  from  internal  resources  is  a  sufficient 
reason  for  anticipating  the  greatest  possible  difficulty  in 
introducing  frozen  meats  into  these  markets,  because  it  is 
certain  that  if,  by  reason  of  lower  prices,  shippers  could  compete 
with  the  local  supplies,  duties  would  be  promptly  raised  so  as 
to  stop  such  importation.  We  are  face  to  face  there  with  the 
radical  and  permanent  difficulty  which  it  is  as  well  to  recognize. 


CUSTOMERS  IN  OTHER  LANDS  '2 :l.r> 

Although  Franco  and  Germany  arc  coupled  in  this  paragraph, 
a  marked  distinction  must  be  made  between  them.  Germany 
is  really  the  less  able  to  feed  itself  now,  and  imports  con- 
siderably live  cattle  from  surrounding  countries,  including 
France,  at  times.  France  is  the  more  self-reliant  country. 

When  diplomacy  induces  these  European  protectionist 
countries  to  refrain  from  directly  prohibiting  frozen  meats 
from  Australasia  or  South  America,  or  advancing  the  duties 
to  a  point  which  would  stop  imports,  they  can  easily  pass 
regulations,  nominally  to  protect  the  public,  which  achieve 
the  end  that  the  interests  opposed  to  meat  imports  have  in 
view  quite  as  effectually  as  if  the  goods  were  barred  by  statute. 
On  this  point,  there  may  be  quoted  the  opinion  of  the  late 
Mr.  William  Cook,  who  had  very  considerable  experience  in 
trying  to  persuade  the  Continentals  to  take  Argentine  meat. 
"  Going  to  France  was  a  mistake,"  said  he.  "  So  inveterate 
is  the  protective  policy  of  the  Continentals  that  if  the  import 
of  frozen  mutton  and  beef  cannot  be  checked  by  existing 
arrangements  and  ordinary  means,  other  and  extraordinary 
ones  will  be  resorted  to." 

An  important  point  to  take  into  consideration  is  that  before 
frozen  meat  can  be  imported  in  commercial  quantities  into 
the  important  European  cities,  well-equipped  cold  stores  will 
have  to  be  built ;  there  are  only  enough  stores  now  to  accom- 
modate a  hand-to-mouth  trade. 

Customers  in  the  East. 

From  its  geographical  position  the  continent  of  Australia 
enjoys  a  peculiar  advantage  over  its  two  rivals,  New 
Zealand  and  South  America,  in  undertaking  to  supply  the 
East  with  frozen  meat.  Directly  it  dawned  upon  merchants 
and  freezing  works  managers  that  London  prices  would 
certainly  fall  to  very  unremunerative  levels  unless  other 
markets  could  be  found,  they  sent  commercial  travellers  in 
various  directions  to  get  orders.  "  Farther  Ind  "  was  explored 
in  1893  by  a  commissioner,  who  reported  unfavourably.  Mr. 
John  Cooke  ten  years  later  had  special  inquiries  made  about 


236     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Eastern  countries  generally,  and,  as  nothing  further  followed, 
presumably  no  good  tidings  were  brought  back.  There  has 
been  much  vague  talk  of  getting  frozen  meat  into  India, 
China,  and  Japan,  in  all  of  which  countries  only  the  white 
population  might  be  hoped  for  as  customers,  and  their  numbers 
are  limited.  The  natives,  where  they  are  not  entirely  vegetarian 
in  diet,  are  too  poor  to  buy  imported  meat.  It  is  suggested 
that  the  Indian  Government  might  with  advantage  import 
frozen  beef  for  the  Mussulmans  so  as  to  save  the  friction  set 
up  between  them  and  the  Hindoos  when  the  former  slaughter 
cattle  for  food.  The  only  definite  commitment  in  Eastern 
parts  was  that  of  the  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.  in  investing 
capital  in  a  local  meat  and  storage  company  in  Singapore, 
with  premises  at  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock.  Though  the 
enterprise,  as  far  as  the  Queensland  Co.  is  concerned,  has  not 
brought  many  shekels  to  the  shareholders,  the  Singapore 
white  population  must  have  benefited.  "If  we  get  good, 
honest,  prime-fed  Australian  beef  and  mutton  instead  of  the 
stringy  Calcutta  and  Bangkok  stuff  we  have  to  put  up  with, 
the  better  for  everybody  in  Singapore,"  wrote  the  Singapore 
Free  Press  many  years  ago. 

Three  years  ago  Australia's  "  customers  in  other  lands  " 
were  receiving  40  per  cent,  of  her  meat  exports,  chiefly  to 
the  Philippines,  the  Cape,  and  Malta,  and  this  may  well 
account  for  the  fact  that  Australia  has  been  at  times  since 
the  beginning  of  the  century  unable  to  keep  pace  with  New 
Zealand  and  Argentina  in  regular  shipments  to  the  United 
Kingdom. 

Wars  Stimulate  the  Trade. 

The  Australian  meat  exports  to  the  Philippines,  Malta, 
Egypt,  Gibraltar,  Hong  Kong,  and  Singapore,  are  largely 
for  the  supply  of  military  garrisons.  Some  proportion  of  the 
total  exports  go  to  great  maritime  junctions,  such  as  Colombo 
and  various  Japanese  ports,  for  the  supply  of  the  mail  steamers, 
and  hotels  entertaining  European  visitors.  For  troops,  either 
in  the  field  or  in  garrison,  frozen  meat  has  come  to  be  a  necessity, 
and  in  no  direction  has  the  refrigerator  been  so  fruitful  of  benefit 


CUSTOMERS  IN  OTHER   LANDS 

aa  to  masses  of  soldiery.  Supplied  in  pre-refrigeration  days 
u  it  h  the  "  cattle  of  the  country  "  in  which  the  military  opera- 
tions were  being  conducted,  or  with  preserved  foods,  moving 
jinnies  are  now  provisioned  from  a  convenient  base  with  fresh 
frozen  beef  and  mutton,  a  dietary  system  enormously  to  the 
benefit  of  the  soldiers,  and  one  much  more  easy  for  the  com- 
missariat to  organize  by  means  of  contracts  made  ahead.  The 
I'.ntish-Boer  war  in  1901 — 1903  was  a  sensational  epoch  in 
the  history  of  the  frozen  meat  trade. 

Cold  Storage  in  South  Africa. 

Cold  storage  in  South  Africa  had,  in  connection  with  the 
supply  of  meat  to  the  troops  in  the  Boer  war,  and  the  events 
that  followed,  the  main  impetus  towards  its  present  stage  of 
development.  A  concise  statement  has  been  made  in  the 
Pastoraliste'  Review  by  Mr.  R.  H.  Harrowell  as  to  the  growth 
of  public  cold  storage  in  South  Africa.  Cold  storage, 
this  writer  says,  was  first  introduced  into  South  Africa  by  the 
old  Dutch  firm  of  Combrinck  &  Co.,  who  established  plants  at 
Cape  Town,  Port  Elizabeth,  Durban,  Pietermaritzburg,  Pretoria, 
and  Bloemfontein.  This  firm  was  floated,  about  the  year  1898, 
into  the  South  African  Supply  and  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd., 
which,  in  the  capacity  of  meat  contractor  to  the  British  Army 
during  the  early  stages  of  the  late  Boer  War,  accumulated  a 
reserve  fund  of  £1,000,000,  after  paying  big  dividends.  The  late 
Cecil  Rhodes,  with  the  assistance  of  the  Johannesburg  mining 
houses,  formed  the  Imperial  Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  with  plants 
at  Cape  Town,  Kimberley,  and  Johannesburg.  The  new 
company  was  successful  in  taking  away  the  military  contract 
from  the  company,  but  worked  it  at  a  loss  of  about 
£350,000  per  annum.  The  main  source  of  profit  being  thus 
lost  to  the  South  African  Supply  and  Cold  Storage  Co.,  it  was 
determined  to  float  another  company  and  transfer  to  the  new 
concern  a  portion  of  the  assets  of  the  old  one. 

In  1901  the  South  African  and  Australasian  Supply  and  Cold 
Storage  Co.  was  formed,  taking  over  the  business  of  the  South 
African  Supply  and  Cold  Storage  Co.  at  Cape  Town,  Pretoria, 


238     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

and  Bloemfontein,  and  the  remainder  of  the  assets,  comprising 
shares  in  the  companies  at  Port  Elizabeth,  Durban,  and 
Pietermaritzburg,  were  taken  over  by  the  Cold  Storage  Trust. 

The  Cold  Storage  Trust,  Ltd.,  has  its  registered  office  in 
London,  but  is  practically  controlled  and  directed  by  interests 
in  Cape  Town.  This  company  controls  the  following  subsidiary 
undertakings  : — Port  Elizabeth  Cold  Storage  and  Supply  Co., 
Ltd.,  Pietermaritzburg  Cold  Storage  and  Supply  Co.,  Ltd., 
Sparks  and  Young,  Durban  and  Johannesburg,  and  has  some 
interest  in  the  Rand  Cold  Storage  and  Supply  Co.,  Ltd. 

On  the  conclusion  of  the  war  in  1902  the  Imperial  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  amalgamated  with  the  South  African  and 
Australasian  Supply  and  Cold  Storage  Co.,  and  the  business 
was  floated  under  the  name  of  the  Imperial  Cold  Storage  and 
Supply  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  a  new  plant  was  erected  at  Durban,  and 
subsidiary  companies  were  formed  at  East  London  and  Johan- 
nesburg for  the  same  purpose.  The  capital  of  the  reorganized 
company  was  £1,750,000,  in  £1  shares,  in  addition  to  a  6  per 
cent,  debenture  issue  of  £500,000.  The  share  capital  was 
cut  down  by  one-half  in  1906,  and  was  further  reduced  in 
1911  to  £201,000,  at  which  figure  it  now  stands. 

The  Imperial  Cold  Storage  and  Supply  Co.,  Ltd.,  with  its  head 
office  in  Cape  Town,  has  cold  storage  plants  at  Cape  Town, 
Durban,  Kimberley,  Bloemfontein,  and  Pretoria,  and  con- 
trols subsidiary  undertakings  operating  at  East  London  and 
Johannesburg,  trading  as  the  East  London  Cold  Storage 
and  Supply  Co.  and  the  Rand  Cold  Storage  and  Supply  Co.,  Ltd., 
respectively. 

Professor  Wallace's  Statement. — Professor  Robert  Wallace, 
who  has  written  a  great  deal  on  stock  and  agricultural  questions 
relating  to  British  settlement  in  South  and  East  Africa,  writes 
to  the  authors  as  follows  : — 

"  South  and  East  Africa  are  essentially  stock,  and  not 
agricultural,  food  producing  countries,  and  when  people  begin 
to  realize  that  European  cattle  are  not  suitable  for  the  natural 
conditions  which  prevail  in  those  quarters  without  such  a 
liberal  supplement  to  the  natural  food  which  would  be  pro- 
hibitive in  cost,  they  will  breed  animals  with  constitutions 


•CUSTOM  i:u>    IN    OT1II.K    LANDS 

that  \\ill  withstand  tin-  climatic  conditions,  and  produce  large 
quantities  of  beef  of  Beconcl-grade  quality  and  suitable  to  the 
local  demand.  South  and  Central  Africa  is  a  black  man's 
country,  and  the  white  population  is  not  likely  under  prospec- 
tive conditions  to  increase  at  such  a  rapid  rate  as  would 
require  a  large  amount  of  prime  beef.  All  I  can  say  is,  if  South 
Africa  is  unable  to  produce  as  much  meat  as  the  people 
require,  it  will  be  the  farmers'  own  fault,  by  allowing  the 
country  to  remain  unfonced  so  that  epizootic  diseases  may 
continue,  as  in  the  past,  to  ravage  the  flocks  and  herds,  or  by 
persisting  in  the  impossible  attempt  to  introduce  highly-bred 
European  cattle  under  climatic  conditions  which  are  inimical 
to  them." 

Manila  and  Vladivostock. 

Australia's  export  of  frozen  meat — mainly  beef — to  Manila 
dates  from  the  placing  of  the  American  garrison  in  the  Philip- 
pines in  1898.  Queensland,  whence  the  meat  is  shipped, 
commands  this  trade  on  account  of  her  geographical  position. 
A  yearly  contract  is  made  between  the  American  military 
authorities  and  the  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.,  and  the  other 
freezing  companies  in  Queensland  take  a  share  in  it ;  7  cents 
per  Ib.  gives  a  rough  idea  of  the  price.  The  1910  contract  was 
valued  at  £12,000;  3,000  carcasses  of  lamb,  5,000  carcasses  of 
mutton,  and  250,000  Ibs.  of  beef,  plus  pork  and  rabbits,  being 
supplied.  It  is  understood  that  the  business  is  cut  rather  fine, 
but  the  Manila  contract  has  proved  useful  to  the  Australian 
meat  men  in  providing  an  avenue  for  the  disposal  of  a  respect- 
able quantity  of  frozen  beef  during  dull  years. 

The  market  at  Vladivostock  came  with  a  rush  in  1906,  and 
in  that  and  the  following  year  over  9,000  tons  of  Australian 
beef  found  its  way  to  the  Siberian  port.  The  negotiations 
were  first  opened  in  1898,  when  a  cablegram  was  received 
by  the  New  South  Wales  Minister  of  Agriculture  asking  if 
700  tons  of  frozen  beef  could  be  sent  to  Vladivostock.  The 
business  was  mostly  negotiated  in  London  by  agents  of 
the  Russian  Government,  and  considerable  competition 


240     A   HISTORY   OF   THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

between  suppliers  marked  its  developments.  In  1908  the 
shipments  fell  off,  owing  to  the  port  being  supplied  from 
North  China  with  live  cattle,  which  were  slaughtered  at  Vladi- 
vostock  and  chilled  on  board  three  refrigerator  steamers. 
These  Vladivostock  contracts  were  also  connected  with  the 
supply  of  meat  for  the  troops. 


The  Mediterranean. 

An  important  section  of  Australian  exports  of  frozen  meat, 
representing  meat  supplies  for  the  British  garrisons  in  Egypt, 
Malta,  and  Gibraltar,  remains  to  be  touched  on. 

Messrs.  Wills  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  started  refrigerating  stores  at 
Port  Said  early  in  the  nineties,  capable  of  holding  200  tons  of 
produce  ;  from  the  depot  the  requirements  in  the  way  of  meat 
of  the  passing  mail  boats  and  the  small  European  population 
were  supplied.  At  that  time  the  Army  contracts  at  Cairo  and 
Alexandria  were  for  native  mutton  at  about  4d.  per  Ib.  The 
thing  to  do  in  Egypt  was  to  secure  this  Army  custom  for  frozen 
meat,  and  this  has  now  been  done.  Practically  all  of  the  trade 
falls  to  the  Australian  shippers,  and  since  1905  Egypt  has  been 
an  important  buyer. 

About  1894  the  British  Government  made  up  its  mind  to 
feed  the  garrisons  at  Gibraltar  and  Malta  upon  frozen  meat. 
They  had  the  necessary  cold  stores  erected  in  1895  at  those 
Mediterranean  strategic  points,  and  ever  since  the  military 
forces  there  have  had  the  benefit  of  the  nutritious  diet  furnished 
by  beef  and  mutton  grazed  on  the  plains  of  Australia. 
Mr.  C.  A.  Lichtenburg,  head  of  Messrs.  Wills  and  Co.,  Ltd., 
took  an  important  part  in  getting  frozen  meat  into  Malta, 
where  it  is  partly  used  for  the  civil  population,  and  his  firm 
has  held  the  contract  since  the  trade  was  introduced.  Allusion 
may  be  made  to  the  grievance  of  which  frozen  meat  importers 
in  Malta  rightly  complain,  namely,  the  differential  import 
duties  on  live  cattle  and  dead  meat.  These  pressed  unfairly 
on  the  latter,  and  the  Australian  Agents-General  have  had  to 
appeal  to  the  Imperial  Government  on  several  occasions  to 


IN    OTIir.K     LANDS 


get  the  grievance  redressed.  In  1908  an  ordinance  was  intro- 
duced into  the  Legislative  Council  of  Malta  to  reduce  the 
duty  on  frozen  meat  from  10s.  per  175  Ibs.  to  Is.  3d.,  but  the 
elected  members  unanimously  opposed  it,  and  as  the  Imperial 
Government  did  not  feel  inclined  to  overrule  the  elected 
members,  the  matter  dropped.  The  Gibraltar  contract  for 
frozen  meat  concerns  the  troops  only.  It  was  first  held  by 
Messrs.  Wills  and  Co.,  and  since  1906  it  has  been  in  the  hands 
of  Messrs.  Thomas  Borthwick  and  Sons,  Ltd.  The  contract 
is  for  about  500  to  600  tons  a  year. 

There  are  certain  harassing  conditions  attached  to  the 
Gibraltar  contract.  The  vessel  with  the  meat  must  go  to  the 
Mole,  and  the  contractor  has  to  take  the  risk  of  conveying  the 
goods  up  to  the  store  in  the  Rock.  It  is  well  to  mention  that 
these  and  other  British  Government  frozen  meat  contracts 
are  open  to  American  shippers,  the  preference  to  British 
suppliers,  alluded  to  before,  having  vanished — in  fact,  the 
River  Plate  houses  have  shared  in  the  business  to  a  small 
extent.  Australia  has  to  secure  the  business  by  competing  in 
the  open  market,  but  having  a  preponderating  advantage  in 
being  able  to  despatch  meat  by  the  vessels  sailing  to  England 
through  the  Mediterranean,  she  is  in  a  position  to  secure  the 
whole  of  the  Mediterranean  trade. 


To   Sum  Up. 

Exports  of  frozen  meat,  present  and  potential,  to  "  Other 
Lands  "  divide  themselves  into  four  sections,  as  detailed  above. 

First,  there  is  the  European  Continental  market,  so  far 
almost  virgin  soil,  about  which  in  the  past  anticipation  and 
realization  have  widely  diverged.  Is  it  too  much  to  hope  that 
\\hrn  a  less  conservative  spirit  pervades  German  official 
circles,  the  much  needed  supplies  of  frozen  meat  may  be  per- 
mit ted  to  be  imported?  The  opinion  of  practical  men  who 
studied  the  question  is  that,  in  the  cases  of  manufacturing 
countries  unable  to  grow  all  their  own  foodstuffs — like  Germany 
—barriers  of  the  unreasonable  kind  which  now  prevail  will  be 
removed.  Only  now  are  European  countries  reaching  that 

L'.M.  B 


242     A   HISTORY    OF   THE   FROZEN  MEAT  TRADE 

economic  stage  attained  by  England  a  generation  ago,  namely, 
that  the  absolute  limit  of  the  productiveness  of  the  land  in 
relation  to  the  population  has  been  passed,  and  the  only  alter- 
natives presented  to  these  nations  are  reduced  feeding  or  impor- 
tation. The  powers  that  be  may  fight  as  they  please  against 
the  new  demand,  but  the  cry  for  plentiful  food  is  bound  to  be 
listened  to  in  the  end,  which  is  not  far  off  in  European 
countries,  and  is  approaching  even  in  the  United  States  of 
America.  In  view  of  England's  experience,  the  Continent  has 
no  excuse  for  prejudice  against  frozen  meat  based  on  inex- 
perience. But  prejudice  against  it  is,  undoubtedly,  cultivated 
by  the  land-owning  and  ruling  classes.  Unless  scientists  find 
unexpected  grounds  for  discarding  frozen  meat  on  its  merits, 
this  barrier  must  fall. 

Secondly,  there  is  the  demand  from  the  peoples  of  the  Far 
East.  About  this  the  obvious  suggestion  to  make  is  that  the 
present  moderate  demand  will  grow  according  to  the  develop- 
ment of  industrial  enterprise  in  Japan,  China,  and  India. 
This  demand  has  been  disappointing  so  far,  but  when  the  new 
industries  of  China  and  Japan  get  into  their  swing,  the  importa- 
tion of  refrigerated  meat  supplies  should  follow  ;  the  plains 
of  Queensland,  grazing  excellent  beef  and  mutton,  are  but  a 
few  weeks  away  from  Eastern  centres,  and  the  future  will, 
doubtless,  see  a  large  volume  of  trade  passing. 

Then,  thirdly,  there  are  the  Government  contracts  for 
military  stations,  British,  American,  etc.  The  dimensions 
of  this  avenue  can  pretty  well  be  measured,  and  frozen 
meat  supplies  passing  along  it  are  likely  to  remain  fairly 
constant  whilst  the  nations  are  at  peace.  Wars  of  the 
future  will  cause  a  great  stir  in  the  trade,  and  the 
subject  constitutes  a  supplementary  division  in  this  list  of 
"  Customers." 

Fourthly,  there  remain  South  and  East  Africa,  and 
about  these  the  observation  has  to  be  made  that  Cape 
Colony  and  Natal  are  rapidly  becoming  self-supporting 
through  the  development  of  agricultural  and  pastoral 
industries.  Except  for  casual  and  speculative  shipments  to 
Cape  Town  and  Durban,  such  as  took  place  in  1910  and  1911, 


CUSTOMERS   IN   <>Tlir.R   LANDS 

and  the  arising  of  abnormal  conditions,  the  demand  for 
ralian  refrigerated  produce  is  likely  to  die  down.  Old 
residents  in  South  Africa  say  that  they  are  not  at  all  certain 
that  the  States  named  will  not  have  to  draw  upon  the  Common- 
wealth of  Australia  for  foodstuffs  in  the  future,  but  others 
lay  emphasis  upon  the  view  that  South  Africa  will  one  day 
take  a  place  among  meat  exporters.  It  may  here  be  suggested 
that  Madagascar,  where  there  are  cattle  of  a  secondary  grade 
available  for  export,  may  bo  drawn  upon  for  the  needs  of  the 
white  population  of  East  and  South  Africa,  should  these 
districts  require  meat  imports  in  the  future.  A  freezing  works, 
fitted  with  Haslam  machinery,  has  lately  been  erected  on  the 
island. 

The  holding  back  from  the  market  of  supplies  of  fat  cattle 
in  the  United  States  of  America,  and  the  consequent  heavy 
reduction  of  beef  products,  a  tendency  which  first  became 
noticeable  in  1907,  enabled  Now  Zealand  meat  to  be  experiment- 
ally exported  from  Liverpool  to  New  York  in  1910.  Frozen 
mutton  and  lambs  were  despatched;  and  although  an  import 
duty  of  1 J  cents  per  Ib.  had  to  be  paid,  the  meat  was  sold  at 
a  profit  at  2  cents  per  Ib.  under  the  price  of  native  mutton. 
This  small  trade  was  stopped  by  the  authorities  demanding 
veterinary  certificates  in  a  form  which,  not  being  necessary 
for  the  British  market,  had  not  been  provided. 

The  Beginning  of  the  End. 

The  position  on  the  Continent  at  the  latter  part  of  1910  and 
during  1911  with  regard  to  meat  supplies  for  the  people  became 
acute  owing  to  pronounced  shortage  of  locally  produced  meat. 
S  rums  disturbances  took  place  in  Austria  and  France,  with 
riots  causing  loss  of  life.  Throughout  the  more  important  and 
thickly  populated  countries  of  the  Continent  the  communities 
rebelled  against  the  monstrously  high  prices  for  butchers'  meat 
they  were  called  upon  to  pay,  and  the  mob  in  Vienna  shouted 
"  Give  us  frozen  moat."  The  war  against  the  agrarian  parties 
was  officially  declared  in  October,  1910,  when  the  Austrian 
Government  gave  permission  for  25  tons  of  Argentine  frozen 

i.  2 


244     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN    MEAT  TRADE 

beef  to  be  brought  into  the  country  :  this  declaration  of  war 
is  a  modern  day  crossing  of  the  Rubicon.  The  signs  of  the 
times  cannot  be  mistaken.  Notwithstanding  the  difficulties 
which  were  placed  in  the  way  of  South  American  and  Austral- 
asian exporters  of  frozen  meat  during  1911,  it  is  plain  that  the 
agrarian  obstructionists  are  weakening,  and  that  with  a  little 
more  pressure  from  the  people  the  Government  will  have  to 
relax  the  prohibitive  regulations  in  force. 

Summarizing  what  has  occurred  since  the  historic  25  tons  of 
beef,  referred  to  above,  made  entry  into  Vienna,  it  appears  that 
after  a  fair  run  for  the  Argentine  beef,  permits  of  entry  into 
Austria  for  which  were  given  up  to  June  by  the  Government 
for  3,000  tons,  the  agrarian  party  in  that  country  again 
got  the  upper  hand,  and  in  July,  1911,  the  Austrian  Minister 
for  Agriculture  announced  that  no  further  imports  of  frozen 
meat  would  be  allowed  to  enter  the  country.  Some  months 
later  the  populace  of  Vienna  were  rioting  on  account  of  "  dear 
food,"  and  in  September  some  speculative  shipments  of  Argen- 
tine frozen  beef  were  made — in  anticipation  of  Austrian  official 
relaxation  of  the  prohibition — to  Trieste.  That  prohibition 
was  not  withdrawn,  and  the  meat  was  mostly  sold  in  Italy 
and  Switzerland. 

From  Germany  little  can  be  expected  until  the  leaven 
of  the  1912  general  election  has  worked.  Switzerland  in 
1911  was  a  customer  for  a  limited  quantity  of  Australian 
frozen  meat ;  there  are  some  difficulties  of  transport  of  frozen 
meat  to  Switzerland  to  be  overcome,  but  during  the  summer — 
tourist — season  it  is  certain  that  the  Swiss  market  will  call  for 
a  certain  quantity  of  frozen  meat. 

One  Continental  country,  Italy,  presents  most  favourable 
prospects  for  the  South  American  and  Australasian  shippers  of 
refrigerated  meat  and  dairy  produce.  There  is  no  disposition 
on  the  part  of  the  authorities  to  block  imports,  and  the  duty 
can  be  easily  met.  A  great  deal  of  frozen  beef  has  reached 
Genoa  during  the  last  eighteen  months,  and  the  principal 
exporting  houses  and  their  London  agents  have  been  making 
the  closest  inquiries  in  Rome,  Naples,  Milan,  and  the  other 
principal  Italian  cities,  with  a  view  to  the  securing  of  contracts . 


CUSTOMERS  IN  OTHER   LANDS  «45 

In  the  autumn  of  1911  several  importing  house*  in  London 
began  to  open  up  business  on  the  Continent .  France  especially, 
with  small  trial  shipments  of  frozen  mutton,  prepared  in  accord- 
ance with  the  regulations  prevailing  in  the  countries  to  which 
the  sheep  were  dispatched,  and  both  in  Argentina  and  Austral- 
asia, and  London,  arrangements  were  being  quietly  made  in 
the  closing  months  of  the  year  for  the  coming  Continental 
campaign.  The Compafiia Sansinena de Carnes Congeladas fixed 
up  a  contract  for  monthly  supplies  of  mutton  with  an 
importer  in  Havre,  and  the  quartering  of  the  carcasses, 
required  by  the  French  law,  takes  place  in  the  bonded  cold 
store  of  that  city.  It  is  possible  that  in  France  the  restrictions 
upon  the  importation  of  frozen  meat  will  be  abolished,  or 
modified,  but  that  the  duties  will  remain. 

Readers  are  referred  to  Appendix  III.,  which  gives  in  tabular 
form  the  estimated  output  of  the  world's  freezing  works  in 
1910,  and  shows  the  exact  value  of  "Customers"  outside  the 
United  Kingdom  to  the  frozen  meat  trade  as  a  whole. 

It  only  remains  to  be  said  that  at  no  stage  in  the  history  of 
the  frozen  meat  trade  have  its  prospects  as  regards  new  outlets 
shown  such  a  tendency  to  widen  as  at  the  present  moment, 
and  even  between  the  times  of  the  writing  and  publishing  of 
the  present  volume  new  business  may  appear  for  refrigerated 
meat  shippers.  This  is  as  it  should  be  in  the  case  of  a  trade 
which  is  still  in  its  early  youth  and  full  of  vigour,  and  the 
reader  will,  therefore,  rest  content  with  deriving  from  this 
chapter  a  more  or  less  coherent  idea  of  how  this  world-wide 
expansion  of  the  trade  came  into  being. 


CHAPTER  XVII 

THE   CHILLED    BEEF    TRADE 

MANY  allusions  to  the  chilled  beef  industry  are  scattered 
throughout  this  book,  but  it  is  in  every  way  desirable  that  a 
chapter  should  be  devoted  to  this  branch  of  the  refrigerated 
meat  trade.  The  Americans,  who  started  their  export  dressed 
beef  trade  to  England  in  1875,  have  always  avoided  complete 
congealment  of  the  meat,  depending  at  that  early  date  upon 
the  cooling  power  of  freezing  mixture  in  tanks  aboard  ship  to 
maintain  their  cargoes  at  a  chilling  temperature.  In  1874 
a  few  parcels  of  hard  frozen  beef  were  shipped,  as  mentioned 
on  p.  13.  M.  Tellier  in  his  Frigorifique  experiment  in  1876 
and  1877  held  the  meat  at  a  temperature  of  32°  F. 

That  chilled  beef  as  a  marketable  article  is  superior  to 
frozen  beef  is  unquestionable,  and  the  only  reason  why  the 
South  American  frigorificos  did  not  adopt  this  way  of  preparing 
their  beef  for  the  British  market  prior  to  the  beginning  of  the 
twentieth  century  lay  in  their  assumption  that  their  chilled 
beef  could  not  be  placed  on  the  London  or  Liverpool  market  in 
sound  condition.  It  was  thought  that  the  "  life  "  of  chilled  beef 
was  strictly  limited  to  about  fifteen  to  twenty  days,  and  that 
the  limit  was  prohibitive  to  an  industry  being  carried  on  where 
thirty  or  forty  days  elapsed  between  slaughter  of  the  beeves 
and  the  marketing  of  the  beef.  The  same  lion  in  the  path 
blocked  anything  more  than  the  experiments  which  are  referred 
to  later  on  in  this  chapter  with  regard  to  Australia  and  New 
Zealand.  With  the  improvement  of  refrigerating  machinery, 
rendering  practicable  the  holding  of  beef  in  ships'  chambers  at 
an  unvarying  temperature,  the  chances  of  the  chilled  beef 
trade  between  Argentina  and  the  United  Kingdom  became 
more  promising  ;  and  with  the  adoption  later  on  of  a  scientific 
system  of  sterilization  it  was  proved  that  the  dreaded  mould 


HIE   CHILLED   BEEF  TRADE  MT 

spot  could  be  prevented,  and,  further,  that  beef  could  be 
brought  to  London  even  from  far  distant  Australia  in  a  chilled 
condition  and  placed  on  the  market  in  good  order. 

Frozen  beef  has  certain  advantages  as  to  ease  of  marketing  ; 
it  can  be  stored  without  suffering  deterioration,  and  it  bean 
handling  better  than  chilled  beef.  But  there  end  the  points 
that  can  be  urged  in  its  favour  in  comparing  it  with  chilled. 
The  chilled  beef  industry  stimulates  the  bringing  to  a  high 
degree  of  excellence  the  cattle  of  the  country  which  makes 
the  shipments  of  the  article,  for  the  primest  beef  is  required 
for  chilled  exports.  Chilled  beef  enters  a  high-class  retail 
trade,  where  the  demand  is  more  regular  and  prices  higher 
than  for  frozen  beef.  Chilled  beef,  to  be  sure,  suffers  terribly 
in  its  wholesale  value  when  the  market  is  glutted,  and  its 
prices  on  such  occasions  are  apt  to  fall  below  those  of  frozen 
beef.  But  the  chilling  process  does  far  more  justice  to  good 
meat  than  does  freezing,  and  it  is  difficult  to  avoid  holding 
the  view  that  the  great  bulk  of  supplies  of  refrigerated  beef 
for  Great  Britain  in  the  future  will  ultimately  be  carried  at  a 
chilling  temperature.  Chilling  mutton,  by  the  way,  has  never 
proved  successful.  The  few  experiments  that  have  been  made 
in  this  direction  have  been  far  from  encouraging  in  their 
results  :  for  one  thing  the  fat  of  chilled  mutton  always  becomes 
discoloured. 

In  the  nineties,  a  period  of  unrest  and  development  in  the 
frozen  meat  trade,  the  first  attempts  were  made  to  bring  meat 
from  Australia  and  New  Zealand  at  a  chilling  temperature. 
The  earliest  experiment  was  that  initiated  by  the  late  Mr.  J.  H. 
Geddes,  whose  friends  shipped  1,000  quarters  of  beef  in  the 
8.8.  Port  Pirie  from  Sydney  on  August  21,  1894.  Dr.  Shiels' 
"  thermostat "  was  used  to  regulate  the  temperature  of  this 
cargo,  a  Linde  refrigerating  machine  supplying  the  cooling 
power.  The  "  thennostat "  consisted  of  a  system  of  tubing 
filled  with  spirit  and  hermetically  sealed.  By  contraction  or 
expansion  of  the  agent,  under  the  influence  of  temperature, 
the  "  thermostat "  controlled  the  action  of  the  refrigerating 
machinery  and  regulated  the  supply  of  cold  air  in  the  meat 
chambers,  thereby  maintaining  a  uniform  temperature.  The 


248    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

meat  in  the  Port  Pirie  had  to  be  frozen  down  during  the  voyage, 
so  that  experiment  failed.  The  second,  third,  and  fourth 
trials  to  bring  chilled  beef  to  England  from  Australasia  were 
made  in  1895.  The  Gothic  brought  in  two  successive 
voyages  from  Wellington  2,000  beef  quarters  consigned  to 
Messrs.  Thomas  Borthwick  and  Sons,  the  "  thermostat " 
being  used  also  in  these  trials. 

These  shipments  were  the  first  serious  attempts,  showing  an 
appreciation  of  the  advisability  of  introducing  the  chilling 
process  into  the  Australasian  meat  export  trade,  made  by 
English  capitalists  on  a  commercial  scale.  The  beef  which  was 
thus  treated  was  carried  at  28|°  and  29°  F.,  and  was  landed  so 
lightly  frozen  as  to  be  fairly  described  as  chilled.  A  certain 
degree  of  success  was  achieved,  but  the  financial  results  were 
not  sufficiently  favourable  to  induce  further  shipments  from 
New  Zealand,  because,  as  Messrs.  Borthwick  reported,  the 
quality  of  the  beef  was  not  up  to  chilling  standard.  The 
s.s.  Rakaia  later  on  brought  500  hindquarters  from  Brisbane, 
but  the  experiment  was  a  failure,  as  the  beef  had  to  be  frozen 
after  being  forty-nine  days  on  board. 

In  the  annual  frozen  meat  review  of  Messrs.  W.  Weddel 
and  Co.  for  1895,  that  firm  suggested  that  in  connection  with 
the  bringing  of  chilled  beef  from  Australasia  "  it  will  probably 
be  found  that  only  by  sterilizing  the  atmosphere  of  the 
refrigerating  chambers  can  the  meat  be  kept  sound  for  a 
sufficiently  long  period  " — a  theory  which  was  not  practically 
tested  till  1909.  A  fifth  attempt  was  the  shipment  of  a 
few  quarters  in  1896  in  the  s.s.  Urmston  Orange  from 
Bowen,  Queensland.  This  meat  had  been  dipped  in  oil  prior 
to  shipment  to  prevent  the  formation  of  mould  ;  in  no  sense 
could  this  beef  compare  with  American  chilled  on  arrival,  so 
this  trial  was  also  a  failure. 

Nine  years  passed,  and  in  July,  1905,  1,200  quarters  of  beef 
were  shipped  in  the  s.s.  Tokomaru  from  Dunedin,  New  Zealand, 
by  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.  The  shipment  should 
have  been  made  by  the  s.s.  Mataiua,  which  had  a  specially 
suitable  system  of  refrigeration,  but  the  Tokomaru  was 
substituted,  and  various  causes  made  the  voyage  a  long  one, 


TIM-:  ( mi  i  i.D  1:1  r.r    IK  \m  -M«» 

and  it  ended  disastrously  in  the  seizure  of  the  meat  by  the 
Port  Sanitary  Authority  in  London.  When  the  cargo  wan 
<>)><-ned  up,  it  was  found  that  block  mould  had  set  in.  This 
experiment  was  baaed  upon  the  fact  that  beef  had  been  kept 
.uml  condition  in  the  works  for  six  or  seven  weeks  at 
chilling  temperature,  but  like  many  other  experiments  it 
failed  because  it  ignored  the  crucial  question  of  how  to 
prevent  the  development  of  mould  spores  deposited  upon  the 
beef  at  the  time  of  shipment.  As  no  insurance  could  be 
effected,  the  venture  resulted  in  total  loss,  not  even  the 
boiling  down  value  of  the  beef  being  returned  by  the 
Authority  ! 

Argentina's  entry  into  the  chilled  beef  trade  was  in  1901, 
in  which  year  40,000  cwts.  were  exported  to  Great  Britain. 
The  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  who  were  its  pioneers,  had  for 
eighteen  months  previously  been  quietly  experimenting.  They 
fitted  the  s.s.  Zuleika  with  a  chamber  to  carry  500  quarters, 
and  made  three  consecutive  successful  shipments  in  that  boat 
—the  beef  selling  at  Id.  per  Ib.  more  than  frozen,  for  hinds — 
before  making  arrangements  with  the  Royal  Mail  Co.  It  was 
the  improvement  in  Argentine  cattle  stock  which  largely 
contributed  in  making  chilled  beef  such  an  acceptable  article 
of  food  as  it  is  to-day,  and  it  must  therefore  be  recognized  that 
a  great  factor  in  the  development  of  the  Argentine  refrigerated 
meat  trade  was  this  intelligent  action  on  the  part  of  enter- 
prising estancieros,  who  in  fact  began  this  reform  nearly 
half  a  century  ago.  The  River  Plate  chilled  beef  trade  has 
developed  rapidly.  In  1901,  when  40,000  cwts.  were  imported 
from  Argentina  into  Great  Britain,  the  imports  from  the 
Inited  States  amounted  to  3,180,291  cwts;  in  1910  Great 
Britain  imported  2,710,747  cwts.  from  Argentina  and  only 
469,444  cwts.  from  the  United  States.  It  will  be  noted  that 
the  total  trade  fell  off  in  the  nine  years. 

It  was  in  1908  that  the  chilled  beef  industry  became  un- 
doubtedly a  successful  trade  as  far  as  South  American  shippers 
were  concerned.  In  that  year  the  reduction  in  exports  to  the 
United  Kingdom  from  Chicago,  etc.,  of  live  cattle  and  dressed 
beef  was  about  40  per  cent.,  and  this  was  Argentina's  oppor- 


250      A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

tunity.  Everything  suggests  that  the  South  American 
Republic  is  to  be  the  great  beef  producing  country  for  Great 
Britain  ;  and  the  American  "  Beef  Trust "  people  evidently 
are  the  strongest  holders  of  this  opinion. 

Very  extensive  and  serious  losses  from  mould  have  occurred 
to  shippers  of  chilled  beef  from  the  Argentine  Republic  during 
the  ten  years  in  which  the  trade  has  been  built  up,  and  for 
years  following  the  start  of  the  industry.  The  loss  accruing 
from  the  seizures  by  the  sanitary  authorities  at  English  ports 
and  markets  became  a  pressing  problem  to  shippers  and 
importers.  For  years  it  was  practically  impossible  to  get  full 
insurance  cover  for  this  article  in  transport,  and,  where  obtain- 
able, underwriters  sometimes  charged  prohibitive  rates,  five 
or  six  guineas  per  cent.  This  state  of  affairs  set  people  think- 
ing. If  the  fungus  germ  on  the  meat  surface  could  be  destroyed 
and  the  atmosphere  of  the  ship's  chamber  kept  sterilized,  the 
mould  trouble  might  be  scotched.  It  may  be  well  to  state 
here  that  Dr.  Klein,  Lecturer  on  Advanced  Bacteriology  at 
St.  Bartholomew's  Hospital,  and  one  of  the  highest  authorities 
on  these  questions,  having  made  an  exhaustive  examination 
in  June,  1909,  of  the  "  black  spots  "  on  some  Argentine  chilled 
beef,  reported  that  "  the  fungus  not  being  able  to  thrive  at  a 
temperature  of  the  animal  body  (98°  F.)  no  pathogenic  action 
could  be  expected.  ...  It  is  obvious  that  the  material  of  the 
black  spots^is  harmless  to  the  animal  body."  But  it  should  be 
noted  that  this  avoidable  mould  defect  has  now  been  almost 
entirely  removed,  and,  in  the  case  of  some  companies, 
altogether  eliminated.  Many  men  worked  at  this  scientific 
problem,  and  Mr.  J.  A.  Linley  patented  a  sterilizing  system 
named  after  him  and  set  up  a  small  experimental  plant 
in  the  Southampton  Docks  cold  stores.  The  first  shipment 
under  this  system  arrived  in  London  in  September,  1907,  by 
the  s.s.  Guardiana — 1,059  quarters  of  beef,  which  were  landed 
in  excellent  condition,  bright  and  dry.  The  English  rights  of 
the  patent  were  then  taken  over  by  the  Improved  Chilling  Co., 
whilst  the  South  American  Improved  Chilling  Co.  exploited 
the  process  in  Argentina. 

The  Linley  system  is  thus  described.     First,  the  sterilizing 


THE  CHII.1.KD    MI-T.r   'IK  ADI  S51 

agent  ifl  evaporated  by  heat  and  driven  by  means  of 
fans  through  ducts  into  the  chambers  or  rooms,  wherein 
the  meat  is  to  be  hung,  and  there  circulated.  This  vapour  has 
the  effect  of  destroying  any  bacteria  that  may  be  on  the 
surface  of  the  walls  of  the  chamber.  The  chamber  is  again 
charged  when  filled  with  meat,  which  is,  of  course,  extremely 
liable  to  gather  the  microbes  in  the  course  of  butchering  and 
preparation  for  shipment.  After  the  vapour  has  been 
allowed  to  remain  in  the  meat  chamber  for  at  least  an  hour  it 
is  driven  off.  The  ship's  hold  and  the  beef  loaded  in  it  are 
similarly  treated.  The  second  stage  consists  of  an  apparatus 
designed  for  drying  and  purifying  the  atmosphere.  The  air 
of  the  chamber  or  room  containing  the  produce  is  passed 
through  two  tanks,  the  first  one  containing  sticks  of  chloride 
of  calcium,  which  remove  the  major  portion  of  the  moisture, 
the  atmosphere  then  being  passed  through  into  a  secondary 
tank  in  which  rotate  discs  of  lead  kept  moist  with  sulphuric 
acid.  This  latter  operation  gathers  the  remainder  of  the 
moisture  from  the  atmosphere  and  also  removes  any  organic 
impurities.  Under  this  second  system  of  drying  and  cleaning 
nothing  enters  the  chamber  or  the  ship's  hold  but  air  cleaned 
and  dried.  It  will  be  seen  that  this  treatment  permits  of  appli- 
cation to  the  meat  after  slaughter,  to  the  cold  chamber  before 
the  meat  enters,  and  to  that  chamber  also  when  the  meat 
is  stored.  The  apparatus  is  simple  and  comparatively  inexpen- 
sive, and  both  the  vaporizing  and  drying  plant  may  be 
combined  on  a  common  bed-plate,  and  both  are  actuated  by 
a  ventilating  fan,  and  can  be  worked  independently.  In  the 
No.  1  process  commercial  formaldehyde  is  vaporized  in  the 
plant  at  a  temperature  of  about  300°  F.  The  evaporation 
takes  some  fifteen  to  twenty  minutes,  and  one  ounce  of  com- 
mercial formaldehyde  to  every  100  cubic  feet  of  the  gross  space 
is  the  amount  of  chemical  used.  In  the  case  of  a  store  the 
charged  gaseous  atmosphere  is  allowed  to  remain  some  three 
or  four  hours,  and  it  is  then  replaced  by  pure,  dry  air  supplied 
under  No.  2  system,  that  is,  air  which  has  been  passed  in  the 
apparatus  over  chloride  of  calcium  and  lead  discs  rotating  in 
commercial  sulphuric  acid.  The  system  thus  provides  a 


252     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

complete  process  of  sterilization,  and  is  at  once  scientific  and 
practical,  having  been  taken  advantage  of  by  several  of  the 
big  Argentine  shippers.  Nearly  400,000  quarters  of  chilled 
beef  have  been  brought  to  the  United  Kingdom  under  the 
process,  the  machinery  for  which  had  been — at  October,  1911 
— fitted  in  four  frigorificos,  and  on  19  vessels. 

Taking  advantage  of  the  facilities  offered  by  the  Linley 
process,  in  which,  it  should  be  mentioned,  Messrs.  W.  Weddel 
and  Co.  have  throughout  taken  a  keen  interest,  Messrs.  John 
Cooke  and  Co.,  of  Australia,  sent  over  to  London  in  1909, 
1910,  and  1911  five  experimental  shipments  of  chilled  beef 
from  their  Redbank  works,  Brisbane,  in  all  6,484  quarters,  in 
the  Aberdeen  Line  s.s.  Marathon,  in  which  the  owners  had 
installed  the  necessary  Linley  apparatus,  in  addition,  of 
course,  to  the  refrigerating  machinery.  The  first  of  these 
trial  shipments  arrived  in  London  in  November,  1909,  after  a 
passage  of  sixty-two  days  from  Brisbane,  the  cargo  consisting 
of  1,181  hindquarters  and  150  forequarters.  The  Queensland 
Meat  Export  Co.  participated  in  these  shipments,  and  the 
Queensland  Government  lent  its  aid  in  the  form  of  a  guarantee. 
Three  shipments  arrived  in  London  in  the  following  year.  The 
condition  of  the  beef  in  three  of  these  four  trials  was  excellent, 
and  it  sold  readily  at  prices  averaging  rather  more  than  §d. 
per  Ib.  above  the  rates  current  for  Australian  frozen  beef  of 
similar  quality.  In  one  case  the  condition  of  the  beef  was 
imperfect,  owing  to  the  use  of  unsatisfactory  meat  wraps. 
These  trials,  resulting  so  favourably,  proved  that  chilled  beef 
can  be  brought  from  Australia  or  New  Zealand  to  the  English 
market,  and  that  under  the  Linley  sterilizing  process  it  can  be 
delivered  in  sound  condition  even  after  a  seventy  days' 
passage.  But  these  small  trials  ceased  in  1911,  and  the  special 
plant  was  removed  from  the  Marathon.  The  support  given  to 
the  enterprise  of  the  firms  named  by  the  Queensland  graziers 
lacked  the  thoroughness  which  was  necessary  for  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  operations. 

In  1911  an  experiment  on  a  small  scale  under  the  Nelson- 
Dicks-Tyser  process  was  tried  successfully.  The  s.s.  Muritai 
brought  from  New  Zealand  70  quarters  of  beef  which  were 


THE   CHILLED   BEEI     IIIAD1 

marketed  in  excellent    condition.      But  the  process  is  too 
expensive  for  further  shipments  to  be  made. 

1 1  is  satisfactory  for  the  Australian  and  Now  Zealand  cattle 
graziers  to  know  that  they  are  not  excluded  from  the  chilled 
beef  markets  of  the  United  Kingdom,  and  that  with  direct 
transit,  and  larger  and  more  regular  supplies  of  beef  of  the 
high-grade  quality  required  for  the  chilled  trade  available 
hipment,  there  is  no  reason  why  Australasian  chilled 
beef  should  not  cross  the  ocean  and  enter  into  competition 
in  the  English  market  with  that  from  South  America. 
Until  Australia  and  New  Zealand  take  up  this  trade,  one  may 
say  that  the  various  interests  composing  the  export  meat  trade 
there  have  fallen  short  of  the  full  development  of  the  industry. 


CHAPTER  XVIII 


SOME   NOTEWORTHY  INCIDENTS  I    1880 — 1910 

WHILE  the  frozen  meat  industry  with  all  its  ramifications 
needs  to  be  studied  separately  in  a  number  of  its  phases  for  the 
reader  to  gain  a  clear  idea  as  to  its  operation,  it  is  only  a  running 
account  of  the  progress  of  the  great  trade  as  seen  from  the  point 
of  sale  or  consumption  which  can  indicate  with  any  coherency 
the  importance  attaching  to  the  many  developments  in  the 
history  of  the  industry.  Hence  an  attempt  is  made  in  the 
present  chapter  to  show  the  evolution  of  the  struggle  which 
has  arisen  on  the  part  of  the  three  competing  producers, 
Australia,  New  Zealand,  and  Argentina,  to  market  their  frozen 
meat  supplies,  each  working  out  the  problem  on  its  own  system. 

The  story  of  the  beginnings  of  the  trade  has  already  been 
told.  Australian  frozen  meat  was  first  imported  into  Great 
Britain  in  1880,  New  Zealand  in  1882,  and  Argentine  in  1883. 
Up  to  1910  the  respective  totals  of  sheep  and  lambs  stood 
thus :  Australia,  27,824,820 ;  New  Zealand,  72,464,591  ; 
South  America,  53,463,982— a  grand  total  of  153,753,393 
carcasses. 

The  following  figures  show  the  growth  of  the  frozen  meat 
trade,  and  the  relative  position  of  the  suppliers  to  Great 
Britain,  from  1885,  when  all  three  countries  were  hard  at  it, 
to  1910:— 


Per- 

Per- 

Per- 

centage 

centage 

centage 

_ 

Australia. 

of 

New  Zealand. 

of 

South  America. 

of 

Totals. 

total 

total 

total 

imports. 

imports. 

imports. 

CwU. 

CwtH. 

Cwts. 

Cw's. 

1885 

61,352 

13 

292,857 

63 

113,153 

24 

467,362 

1890 

131,252 

9 

875,817 

60 

444,017 

31 

1,451,086 

1895 

985,771 

34 

1,187,365 

41 

738,680 

25 

2,911,816 

1900 

860,040 

20 

1,797,864 

43 

1,527,057 

37 

4,184,961 

1905 

524,438 

8 

1,670,319 

27 

4,042,689 

65 

6,237,446 

1910 

2,406,094 

21 

2,637,003 

22 

6,551,276 

57 

11,594,373 

Australia's    Part. — All  three   of  the  countries  mentioned 
were   well   bet  at  their  task  of  export  by  1884 — 1885.     But 


so  MM  \MTI.\YOKTIIY   I\HI>I.NTS:   isso— 1910    255 

even  at  that  early  date  Australia — the  pioneer — was  handi- 
capped by  her  erratic  shipments.  Whilst  her  two  competitors 
forged  ahead  well,  Australia's  exports  were  most  disappointing  ; 
by  1889  both  New  Zealand  and  Argentina  had  reached  their 
million  carcasses  of  sheep  and  lambs,  but  Australia  only  shipped 
86,000  in  that  year. 

However,  in  the  year  1890  a  move  was  made,  and  by  1895 
Australia  was  sending  1,000,000  carcasses  to  the  English 
market.  After  1896  the  great  drought,  which  culminated  in 
1902,  began  to  tell,  and  Australian  exports  gradually  fell 
away,  till  in  1904  the  total  amount  of  mutton  and  lamb 
.-hipped  to  Great  Britain  was  under  half  a  million  carcasses. 
From  1905  Australia  has  been  again  exporting  on  an  increasing 
scale  to  England.  One  reason  to  account  for  the  falling  off 
just  referred  to  in  Australian  shipments  of  mutton  and  lamb 
to  England  was  the  demand  springing  up  at  South  African 
ports,  Manila,  and  the  Mediterranean,  and,  to  a  less  degree,  in 
the  East.  Australia  is  favourably  placed  geographically  for 
supplying  these  countries,  and,  indeed,  has  customers  for  her 
frozen  meat  in  many  lands. 

For  many  years  after  Australia  started  exporting  Great 
Britain  was  her  only  customer,  but  war  works  potent  changes 
in  this  trade.  The  war  in  South  Africa,  the  conquest  of  the 
Philippines  by  the  Americans,  as  well  as  the  demands  of  the 
British  garrisons  at  Malta  and  Gibraltar,  drew  off  a  tremendous 
quantity  of  Australian  meat  from  the  English  market.  In 
1902  Australia  exported  19,690  tons  of  frozen  mutton  and  lamb, 
of  which  only  8,510  tons  were  sent  to  Great  Britain.  The 
pioneer  shipment  of  frozen  meat  made  in  1879  by  the  s.s.  Strath- 
leven,  and  selling  on  Smithfield  at  from  4W.  to  Qd.  per  lb., 
included  beef,  and  this  meat  for  about  ten  years  was  shipped 
very  irregularly  from  the  various  States  of  the  Commonwealth. 
In  1893  shipments  rose  to  10,350  tons,  owing  to  the  beginning 
ot  t  he  Queensland  Meat  Export  and  Agency  Co.'s  operations. 
From  that  point  to  1901  the  yearly  imports  averaged  21,300 
tons.  The  drought  then  dominated  the  position,  and  up  to 
Australia  almost  dropped  out  as  a  regular  and  large 
supplier  of  frozen  beef.  But  in  1909  Australian  beef  again 


256     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

became  a  factor  to  reckon  with.  Australian  beef,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  has  been  going  everywhere  but  to  England  ;  in  1902, 
whilst  South  Africa  absorbed  23,905  tons  of  Australian  frozen 
beef,  only  3,290  tons  were  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom. 
Though  Australia  took  fifteen  years  to  get  to  her  first  million 
of  sheep  and  lambs  shipped  in  the  twelvemonth,  she  quickly 
went  ahead  of  New  Zealand  and  Argentina  in  beef  shipments 
when  the  Queensland  works  started.  From  1893  to  1899 
Australia  (nine-tenths  were  from  Queensland)  exported  160,000 
tons  of  beef  to  Great  Britain,  the  combined  contributions  of 
New  Zealand  and  Argentina  only  amounting  to  41,000  tons  for 
that  period. 

In  1884  Sydney  beef  was  sold  for  6d.  a  Ib.  at  Smithfield. 
Some  bone-taint  trouble  affected  early  shipments — a  fault, 
unfortunately,  that  frozen  beef  (not  Australian  alone)  is 
occasionally  subject  to  now,  depending  as  it  does  partly  upon 
atmospheric  conditions  at  time  of  slaughter.  In  1890 
Queensland  beef  of  "  magnificent  quality "  was  imported, 
though  a  disappointing  set-off  to  this  item  was  the  decision  of 
the  War  Office  not  to  allow  frozen  beef  to  be  supplied,  although 
frozen  mutton  was  permissible,  in  Army  contracts.  The  view 
of  the  War  Office  was  tersely  put  by  Mr.  Lawson,  Director 
of  Contracts  (in  1893)  :  "  We  find  the  beef  suffers  from  freezing, 
and  the  soldiers  do  not  care  for  it" — a  dictum  afterwards 
found  to  be  greatly  wide  of  the  mark.  The  restriction  was 
removed  many  years  ago. 

To  proceed  with  the  bare  chronological  record  forming  a 
running  account  of  the  trade,  in  1883  10,000  carcasses  of 
Australian  mutton  were  thrown  overboard  at  the  Straits  of 
Magellan  when  the  s.s.  Sorrento  was  beached  there.  In  the 
following  year  the  average  weight  of  frozen  Australian  sheep 
was  62|  Ibs.  To  celebrate  the  opening  of  the  campaign  of  the 
Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.  in  exporting  beef  to  England, 
a  banquet  was  given  at  the  Hotel  Metropole,  London,  on 
January  27,  1893.  A  distinguished  company  were  present, 
and  Queensland  frozen  beef,  prepared  by  the  hotel  chef,  formed 
the  piece  de  resistance. 

High  Water  Mark— and  After.— From    1896  to    1899    was 


SOME  NOTEWORTHY   INCIDENTS:  1880—1910    357 

Australia's  high  water  mark  for  both  mutton  and  boof,  for 
later  her  frozen  exports  waned,  and  there  was  no  question  of 
competition  in  quantities  with  the  River  Plate  shippers.  Shops 
at  Hamburg  were  opened  in  1894  for  the  retailing  of  Queens- 
land beef,  which  article  came  along  so  heavily  up  to  1899 
that  holders  had  to  combine  to  sustain  prices.  About  1896 
Australia  enlarged  her  clientele  ;  the  Cape,  Colombo,  Port  Said, 
( i  i  l>ra  1  tar,  and  Malta  became  customers.  The  freight  on  frozen 
mutton  from  Sydney  to  London  was  reduced  to  \d.  per  ll».  in 
1896.  In  1897  the  London  cold  stores  were  congested.  The 
question  of  faulty  cargoes  became  acute  in  1897.  South  Africa 
was  buying  heavily  at  this  time  from  both  Australia  and  the 
Argentine,  Vladivostock  bought  Australian  beef  in  1905,  and 
this  trade  continued  for  a  few  years.  By  1902  Australian  beef 
had  sunk  to  a  shadow  of  its  former  bulky  proportions  in  British 
markets,  and  by  1907  the  South  African  demand  for  refrigerated 
produce  had  practically  ceased,  the  Cape  imposing  a  duty  of 
Id.  per  Ib.  on  Australian  and  \\d.  on  Argentine  frozen  meat ; 
the  duty  on  foreign  meat  is  now  l±d.  The  Transvaal  has  not 
imposed  any  duty. 

Australia  first  took  hold  of  the  lamb  trade  seriously  in  1899, 
and  surprised  British  importers  by  shipping  233,000  carcasses 
in  that  year,  a  two-thirds  increase  on  the  exports  of  1898. 
From  that  time  onwards  lamb  shipments  from  Australia 
increased  at  the  rate  of  about  100,000  a  year  until  1903,  when 
the  drought  caused  a  50  per  cent,  reduction.  But  in  1905  an 
enormous  expansion  set  in  ;  out  of  1,368,000  carcasses  imported 
in  that  year  910,000  were  lambs.  From  then  onwards  Austra- 
lian shippers  have  steadily  extended  their  lamb  trade,  receiving, 
however,  a  check  in  1908.  But  the  seasonal  import  of  this 
article,  December  to  March,  is  now  one  of  the  recognized 
features  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  and  Australian  lambs  are 
constantly  becoming  a  more  important  feature  in  the  English 
market.  In  1911  1,650,000  carcasses  were  imported  into  the 
United  Kingdom. 

New  Zealand's  Progress. — As  has  already  been  said,  the 
progress  made  by  New  Zealand  in  her  frozen  meat  exports  has 
from  the  very  early  days  been  fairly  uniform  and  uninterrupted. 

F.M. 


258    A   HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Nevertheless,  the  big  jump  up  to  be  noted  in  1903  was  followed 
in  1904  by  a  setback  almost  as  considerable,  and  exactly  the 
same  features  were  noted  in  the  import  figures  for  1907  and  1908. 
But  the  expansion  of  the  New  Zealand  mutton  and  lamb 
imports,  as  the  freezing  works  in  the  Colony  increased  and  as 
the  demand  in  Great  Britain  developed,  has  been  very  satis- 
factory, though  market  prices  were  at  times  so  low  that  curtail- 
ment of  shipments  seemed  inevitable.      The  importance  of  the 
lamb  trade  was  foreshadowed  by  the  fact  that  the  first  steamer 
with  frozen  meat  brought  449  lambs  out  of  a  total  of  3,970 
carcasses,  and  in  the  earliest  days  of  the  trade  frozen  lamb  made 
Id.  per  Ib.  above  mutton  prices.     But  one  can  have  too  much 
of  a  good  thing,  and  in  1889  the  market  was  glutted  with 
New  Zealand  lamb.      In  1893  New  Zealand  lamb  went  through 
the  first  of  the  crises  to  which  it  has  been  subject  more  than 
once  in  the  autumn  months,  after  the  summer  trade  is  gone. 
It  receded  to  3d.  per  Ib.,  a  price  below  the  price  which  was 
then  current  for  New  Zealand  mutton.     In  the  following  year 
mutton  experienced  a  slump,  a  record  low  market  price  of 
2±d.  per  Ib.  being  quoted.     Prime  Canterbury  mutton  fell  to 
3d.  per  Ib.  in  1895,  and  in   1897  another  serious  crisis  in  the 
lamb  trade  occurred  in  September.     The  whole  decade  1890 — 
1900  was  one  of  struggle  and  trial  in  the  frozen  meat  trade : 
problems  came  up  for  settlement,  and   as   organization   and 
precedent  were  lacking  in  many  departments,   there  was   a 
good  deal  of  trouble  before  things  settled  down.     Damaged 
cargoes  constituted  the  most  serious  question.     In  1898  20  per 
cent,  of  the  cargoes  from  New  Zealand  were  more  or  less 
damaged,  and  conferences  between  shipowners  and  importers 
were  held.     Damaged  cargoes  fortunately  are  now  practically 
a  thing  of  the  past,   and   in   chronicling   this    feature  which 
disfigured   the  transit   arrangements   of  the   period   referred 
to,  it  is  pleasant  to  note  the  excellent  record  of  the  vessels 
conveying  chilled   and    frozen    meat    from  Australasia    and 
South  America. 

In  1903  the  Seddon  shop  scheme  was  promulgated  and 
caused  much  excitement  and  feeling  on  Smithfield  Market. 
About  the  end  of  the  previous  year,  a  splendid  one  for 


SOMI    vnr.  \YMHTFIY   iNrmi-ATS:  i MHO— 1910 

n  meat  importers,  prime  Canterbury  mutton  had  touched 
6|rf.  per  Ib.  In  1903  New  Zealand  tried  a  direct  shipment 
to  Cardiff,  and  in  1906  freight  arrangements  were  definitely 
made  with  the  Federal  Lone  for  regular  sailings  to  the 
west  coast  of  England.  This  service  is  running  now,  and 
is  carried  on  by  the  vessels  of  the  Federal-Shire-Houlder 
combination.  By  1908  the  shipments  of  boned  frozen  beef 
in  boxes  from  New  Zealand  assumed  large  proportions.  This 
meat  was  from  dairy  and  other  cattle  of  a  light  weight,  and  was 
mostly  shipped  to  Glasgow  to  be  used  for  "  minced  collops  " 
and  in  other  ways.  During  the  year  to  July,  1908,  3,500  tons 
of  this  beef  were  exported  from  New  Zealand,  valued,  f.o.b. 
cost,  at  £66,000.  Under  the  regulations  of  the  Public  Health 
Act  of  1907,  port  and  market  inspectors  in  Great  Britain 
received  additional  authority  from  January  1,  1909,  and  the 
importation  of  boned  beef  in  boxes  was  rendered  practically 
impossible  because  inspectors  found  it  difficult  to  examine 
the  separate  pieces  of  meat  when  frozen  hard  in  a  box. 

New  Zealand,  with  herds  of  cattle  chiefly  devoted  to  dairying 
and,  therefore,  not  permitting  any  great  shipment  of  beef,  has 
been  an  erratic  exporter  of  this  article.  About  1899  she  raised 
the  scale  of  exports,  and  for  a  few  years  placed  over  100,000 
quarters  on  the  English  market  per  annum,  the  high  water 
mark  being  in  1910,  when  344,000  quarters  were  handled  in 

Great  Britain. 

• 

Early  Prices  for  New  Zealand  Meat. — As  already  men- 
tioned, the  pioneer  shipment  from  New  Zealand  was  that  by 
the  sailer  Dunedin,  and  the  mutton  brought  by  this  vessel  was 
delivered  in  sound  condition  and  sold  for  §\d.  per  Ib.  During 
the  first  few  years  of  the  trade  it  was  not  all  plain  sailing,  as 
some  cargoes  were  brought  in  unsatisfactory  condition,  and 
two  years  after  the  Dunedin'a  arrival  prices  for  New  Zealand 
mutton  at  Smithfield  had  dropped  to  4Jd.  to  5d.  per  Ib.  As 
early  as  1883  the  practice  of  the  consignees  of  distributing  New 
Zealand  meat  throughout  Smithfield  was  inaugurated.  The 
year  1885  was  one  of  severe  trial,  and  the  growing  trade  had 
to  struggle  against  adverse  influences,  mainly  low  prices.  In 
1886  the  Colonial  and  Indian  Exhibition  proved  helpful,  as 

8  2 


260    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  opportunity  was  taken  of  organizing  a  prominent  exhibit 
by  which  the  public  were  favourably  impressed. 

The  second  shipment  of  mutton  brought  by  the  Dunedin, 
in  1883,  made  Id.  to  8d.  per  lb.,  which,  as  far  as  records  go, 
was  high  water  mark  in  rates.  "  If  unfrozen,"  the  chronicler 
states,  "  the  meat  would  have  topped  the  market."  In  1884 
New  Zealand  mutton  was  4|d.  to  5d.  per  lb.,  and  beef  (hind- 
quarters) at  one  time  touched  6%d.  to  6fd.  per  lb.,  against 
American  town-killed  (sides)  5\d.  to  6^d.  per  lb.  The 
average  weight  of  New  Zealand  sheep  imported  in  1884  was 
65J  Ibs. 

Rise  of  South  American  Exports. — The  first  arrival  of 
Argentine  frozen  meat  in  London  was  in  1883.  Both  the 
mutton  sent  and  the  market  prices  it  fetched  were  very  poor 
at  the  start ;  the  carcasses  were  almost  lamb-like  in  proportions. 
But  by  1886  a  considerable  improvement  had  taken  place  in 
the  type  of  sheep  exported.  In  1884  River  Plate  mutton  was 
making  3d.  to  4d.  per  lb.  ;  in  that  year  the  average  weight  of 
the  frozen  sheep  was  48  Ibs.,  15  Ibs.  less  than  the  Australian. 
In  1887  a  trade  with  the  Continent  of  Europe  was  attempted 
by  the  Argentine  companies,  depots  at  Antwerp  and  Havre 
were  established,  and  in  1891  100,000  carcasses  were  sent  to 
France.  By  1888  Argentina,  in  volume  of  exports  and  by  her 
excellent  trade  methods,  showed  great  strength  in  competing 
with  importers  of  Australasian  frozen  meat  in  Great  Britain. 

Argentina's  Success. — On  an  average  Argentina  shipped 
about  5,000  frozen  lambs  a  year  up  to  the  end  of  the  nineties. 
For  the  next  six  years  her  shipments  averaged  150,000,  and  in 
1909  South  America  became  a  factor  in  the  lamb  trade  in 
Great  Britain  with  an  export  of  634,000  carcasses.  In  1911 
the  total  shipments  to  England  exceeded  1,000,000.  Argentina 
was  a  long  time  making  headway  with  beef  shipments.  For  ten 
years  after  the  establishment  of  freezing  works  frozen  beef  was 
quite  a  minor  department  of  her  business  ;  the  meat  works  were 
constructed  for  dealing  with  sheep,  and  the  live  cattle  trade, 
which  began  in  1890,  rapidly  grew  to  large  proportions  and 
proved  a  useful  avenue  for  the  disposal  of  a  part  of  River  Plate 
surplus  stock.  This,  by  the  way,  was  the  year  in  which  the 


SOMF    NMTKWMimiY    IM'IIM  NT<:  1880—1910     «61 

export  of  live  sheep  also  started,  with  22,000  head,  which  grew  to 
306,000  in  1895  without  causing  any  scarcity  of  freezing  sheep. 
By  1896  Argentina  was,  in  frozen  beef  exports,  becoming  a  com- 
ix-i  it  or  with  Australia,  and  in  1900  Argentine  imports  into  Great 
Britain  jumped  to  20,600  tons,  exceeding  for  the  first  time  the 
receipts  of  Australian  beef.  This  sudden  increase  was  brought 
about  by  the  stoppage  of  the  live  cattle  trade.  Having  onoe 
secured  the  lead,  Argentina  went  ahead  fast,  Australia  falling 
behind  as  rapidly  as  her  rival  advanced.  By  1901  River 
Plate  frozen  beef  formed  two-thirds  of  the  total  imports  of  this 
meat  into  Great  Britain,  and  soon  it  was  a  case  of  Argentina 
lir-t ,  and  the  rest  nowhere.  Imports  of  frozen  and  chilled  beef 
in  1910  into  Great  Britain  from  South  America  were  252,922 
tons,  from  Australia  44,034  ions,  and  from  New  Zealand 
27,641  tons.  In  Chapter  XVII.  will  be  found  detailed 
reference  to  the  progress  of  the  Argentine  chilled  meat  trade. 

Argentine  Advance. — As  early  as  1893  an  experiment  in 
the  export  of  chilled  beef  was  tried  ;  by  1901  this  hod  become 
a  regular  trade.  It  took  some  time  to  secure  a  footing  in 
English  markets,  but  when  the  initial  difficulties  were  over- 
come butchers  soon  took  to  Argentine  chilled  beef,  and  in 
course  of  time  it  proved  a  severe  competitor  of  North 
American  chilled  beef,  which  has  now  nearly  disappeared  from 
the  market.  Roughly  speaking,  North  American  chilled  beef 
has  been  marketed  at  Id.  per  Ib.  above  Argentine  chilled, 
which  in  its  turn  may  be  put  at  from  %d.  to  Id.  per  Ib.  above 
Argentine  frozen  beef. 

For  some  years  previous  to  the  beginning  of  this  century  the 
Argentine  meat  companies  had  been  quietly  adapting  their 
plant  and  general  arrangements  to  increased  handling  of 
cattle  for  freezing.  So  thoroughly  did  they  take  in  hand 
their  new  enterprise,  that  from  1900  to  1908  over  75  per  cent. 
of  the  frozen  beef  imported  into  Great  Britain  was  from 
South  America ;  and  the  competition  of  Argentine  chilled 
beef  with  the  North  American  dressed  beef — the  choicest  dead 
meat  that  England  imports — became  very  keen.  The  rapid 
development  of  the  beef  export  business  of  the  Argentine 
Republic  stands  out  as  one  of  the  most  sensational  features  of 


262    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  meat  trade.  It  should  perhaps  be  mentioned  that  the 
year  1902  was  an  annus  mirabilis  for  the  River  Plate  com- 
panies and  their  shareholders  ;  Sansinenas  paid  50  per  cent., 
and  James  Nelson  and  Sons  paid  50  per  cent.  The  dividend 
paid  by  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.  was  only  25  per  cent., 
but  earlier  in  the  year  a  distribution  of  the  accumulated  reserve 
fund  was  made  to  the  shareholders  by  way  of  bonus.  The  bulk 
of  this  reserve  fund  had,  of  course,  been  accumulated  out  of 
previous  years'  profits.  The  shareholders  were  immediately 
asked  to  put  this  100  per  cent,  bonus  back  again  into  the  com- 
pany in  the  form  of  capital,  so  that  it  really  amounted  to 
capitalizing  the  reserve  fund.  Of  course,  this  splendid  year 
was  followed  by  the  Nemesis  of  competition,  and  a  crop  of  new 
freezing  concerns  sprang  up  under  the  stimulating  effect  of  the 
golden  showers  of  1902. 

Frozen  Pork. — From  1903  the  imports  of  fresh  pork  into 
Great  Britain  declined  ;  in  that  year  the  total  imports  were 
705,844  cwts.  (Holland  527,269  cwts.),  and  by  1906  the 
quantity  was  reduced  to  492,171  cwts.  Seizing  this  oppor- 
tunity, Australia  and  New  Zealand  shipped  frozen  pigs  to 
help  fill  the  gap.  In  1906  20,779  cwts.  of  frozen  pork  were 
received  from  Australasia,  and  the  goods  were  welcomed  at 
Smithfield  market,  and  were  sold  fairly  profitably.  But  it 
seems  that  the  enterprise  is  not  a  paying  one  for  the  shippers 
unless  the  home  market  is  under  supplied,  for  after  1906,  when 
the  Dutch  pork  was  again  exported  freely,  supplies  from 
Australasia  fell  away  to  an  inconsiderable  quantity.  In  1910, 
only  11,000  cwts.  of  frozen  pork  were  exported  from  Australasia 
to  Great  Britain,  but  pork  is  too  expensive  an  article  for  the 
Australian  and  New  Zealand  freezing  works  to  handle  for 
export  unless  the  shipper  can  expect  a  London  market  price  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  5d.  per  Ib. 

Vitality  of  the  Canning  Trade. — With  the  advent  of  frozen 
meat  in  the  eighties,  canning  meat  became  of  secondary  import- 
ance, and  this  method  of  handling  stock  has  been  resorted  to 
in  Australia  during  the  last  thirty  years,  mostly  as  a  collateral 
to  a  freezing  works,  in  dealing  with  the  less  prime  parts  of 
slaughtered  stock.  But  at  some  works  all  the  carcass  is  tinned. 


SO .MK    NOTEWORTHY    IN<  1 1  >i:NTS:  1880— 1910    863 

In  1905  Queensland  developed  her  exports  of  tinned  meat  very 
heavily  :  there  was  a  big  glut  of  these  goods  in  stock  in  Great 
11.  also  of  extract  of  beef,  and  prices  went  down  to  a 
ruinous  level.  A  large  proportion  of  this  canned  meat  was  of 
interior  <|uulity,  and  in  December,  1895,  as  low  a  price  as  13*. 
per  dozen  (Mb.  cases  (2Jd.  per  Ib.)  was  accepted.  Tallow  was 
selling  as  low  as  20s.  per  cwt.  at  that  time.  The  decennial 
figures  of  imports  of  canned  meat  into  the  United  Kingdom 
may  be  given  for  the  last  thirty  years : — 


- 

Australia. 

N«w  Z«aUnd. 

South  America. 

Cwta. 

Cwta. 

Cwta. 

1880 

. 
. 
1H10 

110,491 

09,821 
232,465 
246,604 

21,808 
50,301 
28,4  22 
44,786 

3,163 
10,783 
41,926 
•301,527 

•  Uruguay  191,538  cwta. 


Random  Jottings:    1890—1908. 

Having  considered  the  progress  of  the  trade  in  connection  with 
the  separate  developments  of  New  Zealand,  Australia,  and 
Argentina,  it  may  now  be  well  to  sketch  leading  historical 
events  that  embrace  all  three  sections.  In  the  nineties 
difficulties  and  problems  presented  themselves  in  England  as 
imports  increased  ;  in  1892  France  established  frozen  meat 
import  regulations,  requiring  that  certain  organs  should  be  left 
in  the  carcass,  which  practically  closed  the  markets  of  that 
country  to  shippers.  Another  obstacle  to  opening  up  the 
inent  for  frozen  meat  was  raised  in  1905  by  Germany 
advancing  the  import  duty  on  meat  by  50  per  cent.  Early 
in  the  nineties  selling  prices  became  lessened,  and  it  was  plain 
that  to  make  profits  the  costs  of  production  and  realization  of 
frozen  meat  must  be  lowered. 

In  1894  the  London  cold  stores  were  blocked  for  nine  months, 


264    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

and  vessels  were  kept  on  demurrage  as  floating  stores  :  Queens- 
land beef  was  then  arriving  in  large  quantity.  In  that  year 
the  working  capacity  of  the  London  stores  was  500,000  car- 
casses, stowed  to  marks,  and  there  were  100  vessels  engaged 
in  the  trade.  By  1895  the  capacity  of  the  London  stores  had 
risen  to  1,000,000  carcasses.  The  British  Government  built  cold 
stores  in  the  Mediterranean  to  make  the  supply  of  frozen  meat 
for  the  troops  possible.  By  1898  English  cold  stores  got  well 
ahead  of  requirements,  and  the  "  refrigerated  fleet  "  numbered 
131  vessels.  Frozen  rabbits  by  1899  became  a  menace  to  the 
cheaper  kinds  of  frozen  mutton,  and  in  the  following  year 
19,000  tons  were  imported  into  Great  Britain.  In  1899  beef 
was  first  shipped  from  Australasia  with  jute  bags  over  the 
calico  wrappers.  In  1901,  the  heyday  of  the  Australian 
exports  to  South  Africa  of  refrigerated  produce,  there  were 
twenty- two  cold  stores  in  the  latter  country. 

Owing  to  the  scarcity  of  New  Zealand  mutton  for  some 
months  at  the  end  of  1902  and  the  beginning  of  1903,  120,000 
carcasses  of  chilled  mutton  from  North  America  were  imported 
into  England,  the  mutton  being  sold  from  3%d.  to  4|d.  per  Ib. 

Contrasting  Systems. — The  main  difference  between  the 
Australasian  and  Argentine  sale  systems  in  Great  Britain  is 
the  direct  outcome  of  the  fact  that  the  Argentine  companies 
have  their  head  or  branch  offices  in  London.  This  is  the  case 
with  most  of  them,  though  the  Smithfield  and  Argentine  Meat 
Co.,  the  South  American  Export  Syndicate  (Rio  Seco),  Com- 
pafiia  Frigorifica  de  Patagonia  (San  Gregorio),  and  the  Vene- 
zuela Co.,  transact  their  business  through  agents.  But  in  the 
historic  periods  of  the  Argentine  frozen  meat  trade,  1883 — 1902, 
during  which  the  industry  was  in  the  making,  the  whole  system 
was  exceedingly  compact.  The  three  great  companies  bought 
their  stock,  froze  the  meat,  shipped  it  in  vessels  owned  or 
chartered  by  themselves,  and  landed  and  sold  it  in  Great 
Britain.  The  Sansinena  Co.  and  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat 
Co.  distributed  and  sold  their  meat  through  the  usual  whole- 
sale channels,  whilst  Messrs.  James  Nelson  and  Sons  relied 
mainly  upon  their  shops.  The  c.i.f.  selling  system  was  intro- 
duced when  the  La  Plata  Co.  sent  its  meats  to  England,  but 


\mi  WOKTHY    I  \CIDKNTS:  1880-1910     «65 
the  sale  of  its  works  in  1907  stopped  this  method  of  doing 

Tin-  Now  Zealand  and  Australian  systems  were  essentially 
clinVrent  from  those  of  the  Argentine.  Up  to  a  comparatively 
recent  time  all  frozen  meat  from  those  countries  was  either 
consigned  to  brokers  or  agents  in  London  for  sale  on  commission, 
«>r  \vas  sold  outright  to  English  c.i.f.  buyers.  The  opening  of 
London  offices  by  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  marked  a  new 
departure ;  another  system  was  introduced  by  English  capital- 
ists. .Messrs.  Thomas  Borthwu-k  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  r>tul)lishing 
offices  in  New  Zealand,  and  buying  and  shipping  their  own 
meat,  and,  later  again,  acquiring  their  own  meat  works  in 
New  Zealand  and  Australia.  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd., 
acquired  freezing  works  at  Geelong,  Victoria,  in  1901,  and 
Moinrri.  Henry  S.  Fitter  and  Sons  have  had  an  office  at  Christ- 
church,  New  Zealand,  for  many  years. 

Producers'  Conferences. — A  survey  of  the  various  movements 
undertaken  for  the  advancement  of  trade  interests  reveals  the 
repeated  formulation  of  schemes  of  various  kinds  intended  to 
improve  the  conditions  of  the  trade,  the  product  of  ingenious 
I > ruins  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand  and  elsewhere.  In  the 
River  Plate  trade,  where  frozen  meat  interests  were  concen- 
trated, one  does  not  hear  of  such  things ;  but  so  many  people 
are  concerned  in  the  Australasian  meat  export  business  that 
divergent  views  as  to  the  management  of  a  crisis  have  from  time 
to  time  necessitated  conferences  and  the  submission  of  special 
proposals.  It  may  be  interesting  to  record  four  of  these 
schemes. 

In  1887  the  first  conference  was  held,  and  on  October  18  of 
that  year  the  following  firms  and  gentlemen  met  to  consider 
"  combined  action  amongst  consignees  of  New  Zealand  mutton 
to  support  prices  "  : — Nelson  Brothers  and  Co.,  Ltd.  ;  Miles 
Brothers  and  Co.;  John  Bell  and  Sons;  Shaw,  Savill  and 
Albion  Co.,  Ltd. ;  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.,  Ltd. ;  Gear 
Meat  Preserving  Co.,  Ltd. ;  P.  Comiskey,  T.  Russell,  F.  Lark- 
worthy  ;  New  Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.,  Ltd. 
A  scheme  to  regulate  supplies,  limit  prices,  and  concentrate 
sales  was  considered  and  rejected. 


266    A    HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

A  New  Zealand  Scheme. — On  September  5,  1893,  at  the 
request  of  the  agricultural  and  pastoral  societies,  a  conference 
was  called  by  the  New  Zealand  Government  of  delegates 
representing  the^sheepowners  and  freezing  companies  of  the 
Colony,  and  this  was  held  at  Wellington  and  numerously 
attended.  The  meeting  was  summoned  to  discuss  certain 
schemes  presented  by  Messrs.  D.  J.  Nathan  and  M.  C.  Orbell, 
and  the  following  resolutions  were  put  before  the  conference  : — 

1.  "  That  the  present  methods  of  conducting  the  frozen  meat 
trade  being  unsatisfactory  and  unprofitable  to  the  sheep  farmer, 
it  is  desirable  that  a  controlling  company  representing  the 
various  interests  concerned  be  formed  for  the  purposes  set 
forth  below  : — 

"  (a)  To  arrange  for  the  amalgamation,  buying-out,  or  federa- 
tion of  existing  freezing  companies. 

"  (b)  To  negotiate  with  shipping  companies  as  to  freights  and 
kindred  matters. 

"  (c)  To  inspect,  report,  and  act,  as  to  the  suitability  and  class 
of  ships  employed  in  the  trade,  and  in  regard  to  the  insulation, 
etc. 

"  (d)  To  attend  to  grading  and  insurance,  watch  the  unloading 
in  London,  arrange  for  storage  accommodation  near  port  of 
discharge,  and  thus  enable  supply  to  be  regulated,  also  save 
many  handlings  and  cost  of  barges  and  delays  caused  thereby. 

"  (e)  To  arrange  for  the  concentration  of  the  trade  in  Great 
Britain  and  elsewhere,  and  to  open  up  new  distributing  centres. 

"  (/)  To  issue  debentures  for  the  purchase  of  existing  works, 
new  plant,  or  establishing  other  works,  and  for  raising  the 
necessary  capital. 

"  (g)  To  provide  a  sinking  fund  for  the  repayment  of  deben- 
tures." 

2.  "  That,  in  order  to  achieve  the  objects  set  forth  in  the  fore- 
going resolution,   this  conference  desires  the  Government  to 
introduce  a  Bill  empowering  such  company  to  levy  tax  upon 
all  sheep  in  the  Colony.     Shares  to  be  allocated  to  each  stock- 
holder in  proportion  to  the  total  amount  of  his  paid-up  sheep 
tax." 

After  a  long  debate  the  resolutions  were  withdrawn,  and  the 


>o\li:    N<  m:\VollTHY    l\(  I  Dl  .NTS:  1880-1910     267 

following  ones,  proposed  by  Mr.  A.  C.  Begg,  of  the  New  Zealand 
Refrigerating  Co.,  were  adopted  : — 

1 .  "In  the  opinion  of  this  conference  any  attempt  to  estab- 
lish a  monopoly  of  the  frozen  meat  industry  of  the  Colony 
would  be  both  undesirable  and  impracticable." 

2.  "  That,  in  order  to  give  confidence  to  buyers  and  to  secure 
as  far  as  possible  good  quality  of  the  meat  exported,  it  is  desir- 
able that  the  freezing  companies  in  the  Colony  should  agree  to 
a  uniform  system  of  grading,  as  far  as  consistent  with  due 
regard  to  local  conditions." 

3.  "  That,  in  order  to  regulate   the  supplies  to  the  home 
market,  and  to  prevent  the  glut  which  has  been  occasioned  by 
excessive  shipments  during  the  first  half  of  each  year,  it  would 
be  very  advantageous  if    provision  were   made    for   storage 
accommodation  in  the  Colony,  so  that  supplies  sent  forward 
may  be  regulated  and  any  glut  prevented." 

This  conference  marked  one  of  the  stages  of  development  of 
the  meat  export  trade  of  New  Zealand.  From  1889  to  1894  the 
average  price  realized  by  prime  Canterbury  wether  mutton  at 
Smithfield  Market  had  fallen  to  the  following  rates  :  4fd.  per  lb., 
4|d.,  4fd.,  4Jd.,  4|rf.,  and  41^. — these  were  top  quotations. 
The  flockowners  in  the  Colony  became  alarmed  about  the 
future,  and  schemes  and  plans  without  end  were  put  forward 
to  effect  improvement  in  the  conditions,  locally  and  in  England, 
under  which  the  frozen  meat  industry  was  carried  on.  It 
is  curious  that  the  practical  (positive)  outcome  of  a  confer- 
ence called  to  sanction  a  revolutionary  and  visionary  scheme 
should  have  been  the  acceptance  of  two  such  businesslike 
methods  as  standardized  grading  and  local  storing,  neither  of 
which  has  yet  been  effectually  carried  out ! 

Two  London  Conferences. — In  September,  1897,  a  desperate 
slump  occurred  in  the  lamb  trade.  The  chief  holders  met  on 
September  22,  and  a  declaration  of  stocks  (200,000)  held  by 
them  was  made.  In  March,  1898,  a  series  of  meetings  was 
held  in  London  and  attended  by  these  firms  for  the  purpose  of 
considering  the  lamb  position,  which  had  again  become  acute. 
These  conferences,  under  the  auspices  of  the  Frozen  Meat 
Trade  Association,  were  considered  to  have  checked  the  "  rot " 


268    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

which  had  set  in.  Skipping  forward  a  decade,  allusion  may  be 
made  to  one  more  meeting  of  the  trade.  That  was  on  May  4, 
1909,  when  Sir  Montague  Nelson  invited  all  leading  importers 
of  frozen  mutton,  Australasian,  South  American,  and  North 
American,  to  discuss  the  position — an  exceedingly  dismal  one 
of  over-supply  and  under-demand.  Nothing  came  of  this 
conference  except  a  useful  exchange  of  views.  In  the  market- 
ing of  Australasian  frozen  meat  it  has  often  been  necessary 
to  attempt  to  secure  combined  action,  either  in  limiting 
quantities  offered  or  in  fixing  minimum  prices  ;  but  such 
movements  have  rarely  been  completely  successful  owing  to 
the  number  of  holders  and  their  widely  divergent  interests. 

Mr.  Twopeny's  Mission. — One  of  the  most  authoritative  and 
well-supported  movements  engaged  in  by  meat  exporters  was 
the  formation  in  Sydney  in  September,  1896,  of  the  Australian 
Meat  Export  Association.  Mr.  R.  E.  N.Twopeny  was  appointed 
delegate  to  visit  London  for  the  purpose  of  forming  a  committee 
of  the  London  representatives  of  Australian  pastoral  interests 
to  supervise  the  disposal  of  Australian  meat  in  the  United 
Kingdom.  Mr.  Twopeny  succeeded  in  forming  the  committee, 
which  sat  for  some  months  under  the  presidency  of  Mr.  E.  T. 
Doxat.  The  committee  recommended  that  there  should  be 
a  regulation  of  supplies  of  meat  by  agreement  amongst  the 
freezing  companies,  and  also  that  a  limitation  of  the  number 
of  consignees  in  the  United  Kingdom  was  desirable.  Mr.  John 
Cooke  was  somewhat  in  opposition  to  the  London  committee 
scheme,  holding  that  "  our  first  duty  in  the  Colonies  is  to  set 
our  own  houses  in  order  by  shipping  only  first-class  meat,  and 
arranging  for  its  transport  and  delivery  in  first-class  condi- 
tion." Although  Mr.  Twopeny  carried  out  his  mission  in  first- 
rate  style,  the  London  committee  failed  to  send  prices  upward. 
The  British  Australasian  of  March  11,  1897,  thus  alluded  to 
the  matter :  "  It  is  apparent  that  what  has  occurred  has  been 
one  of  those  occasional  deviations  from  established  usage 
prompted  by  the  pressure  of  depressed  conditions  of  trade. 
Ten  Anglo-Australian  merchants  and  bankers  have  been 
discussing  academic  problems,  such  as  the  c.i.f.  trade,  concen- 
tration of  shipments,  etc.,  at  a  round  table,  and  still  we  are  no 


SOME   NOTEWORTHY    isvihi.vrs:  1880—1010    209 

nearer  a  solution  of  the  one  important  problem — how  to  raise 
prices  to  a  permanently  paying  level." 

Regarding  these  conferences  connected  with  the  frozen  meat 
trade,  whether  of  producers  in  Australasia  or  of  importers  and 
merchants  in  London,  one  cannot  gather  that  much  in  tho 
shape  of  practical  results  attended  them.  A  healthy  inter- 
change of  views  took  place,  but  the  clashing  of  interests,  both 
at  producing  and  selling  point,  to  be  expected  in  a  trade  where 
there  is  such  keen  competition,  has  hitherto  stood  in  the  way 
of  the  acceptance  of  proposals  involving  uniformity  of  action. 

Meat  Marking. — The  Select  Committee  of  the  House  of 
Lords  appointed  on  August  25, 1893,  with  the  late  Lord  Onslow 
as  its  chairman,  to  consider  the  marking  of  foreign  and  colonial 
produce,  issued  a  voluminous  report.  The  Merchandise  Marks 
and  the  Sale  of  Food  and  Drugs  Acts  had  not  been  completely 
satisfactory  in  stopping  misrepresentations  and  dishonest 
trading.  Bills  advocating  the  marking  of  imported  meat  and 
(or)  the  licensing  of  retailers  of  the  same  have,  of  course,  been 
before  Parliament  ever  since  the  refrigerator  became  a  factor 
in  meat  supplies.  The  Committee's  Report  has  become  a 
classic,  and  much  valuable  literature  bearing  on  the  retail 
vending  of  imported  meat  is  to  be  found  therein.  The  Com- 
mittee, whilst  reporting  that  the  consumer  would  benefit  by 
the  marking  of  meat,  did  not  show  any  enthusiasm  in  recom- 
mending compulsory  meat  marking  ;  but  they  were  agreed 
that  marking  could  be  done  satisfactorily.  A  metal  tag  paved 
through  the  shank  bone  of  legs  and  shoulders,  and  sealed,  was 
suggested  in  the  case  of  mutton.  Aniline  dyes  were  not 
approved  on  account  of  the  lack  of  permanence  of  the  mark. 
The  Committee  reported  clearly  in  favour  of  the  registration 
of  the  retailers  of  imported  meat  and  the  affixing  of  a  notice 
to  that  effect  over  their  shops.  The  evidence  placed  before 
the  Committee  showed  that  misrepresentation  in  the  (retail) 
meat  trade  existed,  chiefly  in  the  substitution  of  American 
•  lulled  beef  for  English  and  Scotch.  The  Report  said  :  "  It 
does  not  appear  that  retail  butchers  habitually  inform  their 
customers  of  the  source  of  origin  of  their  meat.  The  usual 
is  to  supply  such  quality  of  meat  as  is  likely  to  meet 


270    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

with  the  approval  of  the  customer  without  giving  any  actual 
guarantee  of  origin."  That  "  usual  practice  "  still  prevails. 
But  the  Committee  had  cases  before  them  of  gross  fraudulent 
sales,  the  most  glaring  of  which  was  "  The  Old  Established 
Welsh  Mutton  House  "  in  the  Strand  (until  ten  years  ago), 
where  New  Zealand  mutton,  the  retail  value  of  which  was  Id. 
per  lb.,  was  sold  as  "  Welsh  "  at  IQd.  A  witness  stated  :  "  I 
have  seen  '  Prime  Canterbury  '  stuck  above  a  shop  that  had 
nothing  but  River  Plate  mutton  in  it." 

False  Trade  Description. — Allusion  may  be  made  here  to  an 
episode  in  the  history  of  the  New  Zealand  meat  trade.  The 
Government  of  that  State  has  always  been  careful  to  safe- 
guard the  interests  of  its  meat  exporters.  In  1900  the  Agent- 
General  in  London  determined  to  institute  prosecutions  of 
retailers  against  whom  a  clear  case  could  be  brought  of  passing 
off  inferior  meat  as  New  Zealand  produce.  "  New  Zealand  " 
and  "  Canterbury  "  as  terms  had  got  to  be  well  known  and 
liked,  and  so  unscrupulous  retailers  were  in  the  habit  of  apply- 
ing them  recklessly.  The  matter  was  first  put  to  the  test  by 
Mr.  H.  C.  Cameron,  the  New  Zealand  Government's  Produce 
Commissioner  in  the  United  Kingdom,  bringing  proceedings 
against  a  Blackpool  butcher  for  applying  a  false  trade  descrip- 
tion to  a  leg  of  mutton  which  the  defendant  sold  to  him  on 
March  16,  1900.  This  and  similar  cases  were  taken  under  the 
Merchandise  Marks  Act,  1887,  under  which  measure  for  a 
prosecution  to  be  successful  it  is  necessary  that  the  "  false 
description  "  shall  be  in  writing.  The  magistrates  dismissed 
the  case,  but  the  High  Court  sent  it  back  to  them,  and  the 
retailer  was  convicted.  Other  prosecutions  were  brought 
afterwards  on  similar  grounds,  and  the  New  Zealand  Govern- 
ment went  to  considerable  expense  and  trouble  to  put  a  stop 
to  this  fraudulent  practice,  which,  if  persisted  in,  might  well 
have  injured  the  high  reputation  of  the  Colony's  produce. 
In  1905  the  New  Zealand  Government  in  conjunction  with  the 
London  County  Council  summoned  a  meat  salesman  for  apply- 
ing the  labels  of  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.  and  other 
New  Zealand  labels  to  Australian  lambs  supplied  under  contract 
to  some  of  the  London  County  Council  asylums  as  New  Zealand 


SOM1      VtlTWMKTHY    I  \(  I DKNTS  :    1MSO_1<)10     271 

lambs.  This  case  was  under  the  same  Act  and  on  the  same 
indictment.  On  the  evidence  of  the  prosecutors,  there  was 
about  Hd.  to  2d.  per  Ib.  difference  in  value  between  the  two 
descriptions  of  lambs.  The  defendant  was  fined  £20  for  having 
in  his  possession  the  goods  falsely  described.  A  "  hair-pin  "—of 
the  kind  then  used  to  pin  down  Australian  lambs'  tails  at  the 
time  of  freezing — played  no  small  part  in  the  evidence  against 
the  loser.  Another  conviction  was  secured  in  1907  on  much  the 
same  grounds ;  in  this  case  Argentine  meat  was  supplied  under 
contract  in  place  of  the  New  Zealand  article. 

That  the  substitution  of  frozen  meat  for  the  home- 
grown article  in  the  retail  trade  does  not  prevail  as  largely 
as  is  thought  by  many  people  is  proved  by  the  relatively 
low  wholesale  values  for  the  former.  Undoubtedly,  some 
people  buying  "  Canterbury  "  mutton  and  lamb  think  they 
are  getting  meat  produced  in  the  English  Canterbury  district, 
such  is  the  magic  ring  of  the  trade  description  "  Prime 
Canterbury."  Salesmen  say  that  the  Canterbury  brand  will 
sell  anything.  That  improper  misrepresentation  takes  place, 
and  constantly,  no  one  can  doubt.  Each  grade  is  substituted 
for  tho  one  above  ;  American  chilled  beef  for  Scotch,  Canter- 
bury meat  for  home-grown,  and  Australian  and  Argentine 
mutton  (to  a  diminishing  extent)  for  New  Zealand.  The  persons 
who  have  a  right  to  complain  are  the  English  and  Scotch 
farmers,  who  feel  to  some  extent  in  restricted  values  the  effect 
of  the  substitution  of  the  imported  article  for  their  home-raised 
meat.  The  consumer,  too,  has  certainly  good  reason  to  find 
fault  with  his  butcher,  though  the  number  of  those  who  will 
not  admit  the  excellence  of  the  quality  of  the  chilled  beef  and 
frozen  mutton  and  lamb  is  becoming  less  and  less.  The 
admitted  and  open  sale  of  "town-killed"  beef  for  En. 
that  is  to  say,  at  "  English  "  retail  values,  is  an  unjustifiable 
practice,  pressing  hard  upon  the  home  producer  in  England. 
One  of  the  reasons  to  account  for  the  popularity  of  the  live 
le  trade  with  the  carcass  butchers  is  the  profit  which  they 
make  in  buying  American  cattle  landed  at  English  ports  and 
retailing  this  "  town-killed "  beef  as  home-grown.  There 
was  a  case  in  the  English  High  Court  in  October,  1908  (British 


272    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Tea  Table  Co.  v.  Gardner],  in  which  Mr.  Justice  Ridley  made 
this  remark  :  "I  understand  English  beef  to  be  beef  bred 
and  killed  in  England.  One  might  as  well  call  the  English 
soldiers  killed  at  the  battle  of  Waterloo  '  Belgians.'  '  The 
judge  referred  in  terms  of  disapproval  to  the  plea  that  "  town- 
killed  "  is  recognized  by  market  custom  as  English  meat. 

Mr.  Edward  Lloyd,  master  butcher,  of  Chester,  gave  evidence 
before  the  Marking  of  Foreign  Meat  Committee  on  June  27, 
1893,  and  the  following  paragraphs  from  the  Report  are 
instructive  : — 

Lord  Onslow (Chairman)  :  "You  assert  that  if  a  purchaser  went  into  a  shop  and 
asked  where  the  meat  [Birkenhead-killed  American  cattle]  came  from  he  would  be 
told  that  it  came  from  England  ?  " 

MV.  Lloyd  :  "  Yes,  in  99  cases  out  of  100.  Scotch  bullocks  they  call  them  often 
enough." 

Lord  Onslow  :  "  That  which  is  bought  a  penny  a  pound  cheaper  wholesale  is 
sold  at  the  same  price  as  that  which  is  bought  at  a  penny  a  pound  dearer  ? " 

Mr.  Lloyd  :  "  Exactly." 

Lord  Onslow  :  "  And  therefore  the  purchaser  and  the  consumer  have  to  pay  more, 
and  the  butcher  makes  a  great  piofit  ?  " 

Mr.  Lloyd  :  "  Exactly." 

The  Scotch  and  English  graziers  are  the  principal  victims, 
for  were  the  American  beef  sold  as  "  American  beef,"  the 
public,  to  some  extent  at  least,  would  not  buy  it,  however  good 
it  might  be. 

The  above  remarks  have  not  the  force  to-day  which  they 
possessed  some  years  ago,  for  North  American  exports  of 
both  fat  stock  and  chilled  beef  to  Great  Britain  have  very 
considerably  fallen  off  of  late.  Also  it  is  well  to  say  that,  as 
Argentine  and  Australian  mutton  have  so  greatly  improved 
and  advanced  relatively  in  price,  there  is  not  now  so  much 
temptation  for  the  retailer  to  substitute  these  meats  for  New 
Zealand  as  there  was  some  years  back — but  there  is  a  readier 
opportunity ! 

The  most  recent  appeal  to  the  law  to  invoke  penalties  for 
selling  as  New  Zealand  mutton  meat  which,  as  alleged  by  the 
prosecutor,  the  New  Zealand  Government,  was  of  Australian 
origin,  was  tried  in  the  Liverpool  Police  Court  in  May,  1911. 
The  defendants  were  shipping  merchants,  and  they  sold  to  the 
Allan  Line  a  quantity  of  mutton  marked  with  the  "  Crescent  " 
brand  of  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.  The  contract 


SOMK    \<>T1.\\<)KT11Y    I V  IDI.YI-:  1880-1910    J73 

was  for  New  Zealand  mutton,  and  the  prosecution  suggested 
the  meat  was  Australian.  The  "  Crescent "  brand  has 
not  been  used  since  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.  was 
11  over  by  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  in  1906,  but  tin- 
magistrate  ignored  that,  and  only  applied  himself  to  the  point, 
had  Australian  mutton  been  substituted  for  New  Zealand  ? 
hi  ( .inducting  a  case  of  this  kind  the  prosecutor  is  fighting  a 
lone  hand,  and  to  provide  the  necessary  array  of  witnesses  is 
far  from  easy.  The  magistrate  held  that  no  primd  fade 
case  had  been  made  out,  and  dismissed  the  charge,  but 
without  costs. 

Rise  and  Fall  of  North  American  Beef  Export  Trade.— 
When  beef  was  first  exported  from  the  United  States  of 
America  (1874),  cattle  numbered  27,000,000.  The  stocks 
rose  year  by  year  until  1892,  by  which  time  the  1874  figures 
had  increased  to  54,000,000 — a  100  per  cent,  increase.  The 
population  in  1892  had  expanded  to  about  65,000,000.  From 
1892  cattle  statistics  report  a  falling  tendency  down  to  1900,  but 
in  1901,  owing  to  altered  methods  of  "  enumerating,"  an  extra- 
ordinary jump  upwards  from  about  44,000,000  head  of  cattle 
in  1900  to  62,000,000  occurred.  The  high-water  mark  of 
cut  tie  in  the  United  States  of  America  was  in  1907  with 
72,500,000.  If  the  appendix  dealing  with  imports  of  fresh 
beef  is  consulted,  it  will  be  seen  at  a  glance  how  important 
have  been  supplies  of  beef  under  refrigerated  conditions  from 
the  North  American  meat  works.  Up  to  the  end  of  1909,  from 
the  beginning  of  imports  from  all  supplying  countries,  imports 
from  the  United  States  of  America  of  chilled  beef  exceeded  in 
quantity  the  supplies  from  South  America  and  Australasia  put 
together,  frozen  and  chilled  beef.  In  1901  there  were  imported 
into  Great  Britain  over  150,000  tons  of  chilled  beef  from  North 
Aim-rica,  and  from  that  point  the  demands  of  the  increasing 
|io|>uKiti.in  in  the  exporting  country  began  to  tell,  and  in  1911 
only  8,720  tons  were  despatched  to  Great  Britain,  with  a 
:'-ncy  to  further  serious  curtailment. 


F.M. 


\ 


CHAPTER  XIX 

A   MISCELLANY 

IN  the  compilation  of  a  record  of  an  industry  with  so  many 
ramifications  as  the  frozen  meat  trade,  there  is  necessarily 
difficulty  in  assigning  a  proper  position  in  the  story  to  many 
side  issues  which  have  to  be  dealt  with.  A  chapter  of  mis- 
cellanea is  almost  inevitable,  and  the  following  items  of  interest 
are,  without  apology,  given,  regardless  of  their  heterogeneous 
character. 

Congress  of   Refrigeration. 

It  is  generally  recognized  that  the  campaign  to  secure  markets 
for  frozen  meat  among  the  countries  of  the  Continent  of  Europe, 
a  fight  only  now  proceeding — slowly — to  its  more  hopeful 
stages,  has  had  a  valiant  protagonist  in  the  International 
Congress  of  Refrigeration.  The  Premier  Congres  International 
du  Froid  was  held  in  Paris  in  October,  1908,  and  nearly  4,000 
delegates,  from  forty-three  countries,  attended  this  successful 
gathering,  which  was  organized  by  a  French  engineer,  the  late 
M.  J.  de  Loverdo.  The  international  movement  has  done  much 
to  stimulate  an  industry  which,  because  of  its  special  character, 
had  previously  lacked  the  stimulus  of  combined  action  within 
its  ranks,  and  for  this,  as  well  as  for  the  wide  publicity  gained 
for  commercial  refrigeration,  M.  de  Loverdo,  with  his  initiative 
and  organizing  genius,  is  principally  to  be  thanked.  His  death, 
which  took  place  on  January  12,  1912,  was  felt  to  be  due  in 
some  measure  to  his  tremendous  labours  for  this  cause.  At  the 
Paris  Congress  174  papers  were  read,  and  among  the  numerous 
resolutions  carried  were  several  bearing  upon  the  subjects 
treated  in  this  book.  Two  of  them  may  be  given.  Mr.  T.  A. 
Coghlan,  Agent-General  in  London  for  New  South  Wales,  had 
devoted  his  attention  at  the  Congress  to  the  modification 
or  abolition  of  regulations  hindering  the  import  of  refrigerated 


A   MISCELLANY  275 

produce  into  any  country,  in  the  interests  of  cheaper  food, 
and  his  resolution,  aa  accepted,  was  as  follows  : — 

"  That  the  Congress  expresses  its  opinion  that  in  order  to 
reduce  the  cost  of  living  to  the  working-classes,  and  to  promote 
international  trade,  regulations  which  hamper  the  introduc- 
tion into  any  country  of  frozen  or  chilled  produce,  and  the 
storage,  distribution,  and  sale  of  such  produce  in  any  such 
country,  should  be  modified  or  abolished." 

The  other  resolution  (which  was  carried)  was  one  proposed 
by  Mr.  Gilbert  Anderson  : — 

"  That,  in  view  of  the  large  expansion  of  the  trade  in  refri- 
gerated products,  it  is  desirable  that  an  international  uniform 
standard  of  meat  inspection  be  established  and  agreed  to  by 
the  various  countries  exporting  and  importing  animal  foods  so 
as  to  ensure  the  healthy  condition  of  the  meat." 

Although  no  immediate  action  was  taken  with  regard  to 
this  resolution,  M.  de  Loverdo  rather  more  than  a  year  before 
his  death  proceeded  to  organize  an  International  Meat  Inspec- 
tion Conference,  to  which  it  is  still  hoped  the  Powers  may  be 
officially  invited  by  the  French  Government  to  send  delegates  in 
1912.  This  is  a  great  step  in  the  right  direction,  and  it  is  felt 
that  the  discussion  of  the  subject  among  expert  delegates  of  both 
meat  producing  and  consuming  countries  may  do  much  to  con- 
vince the  latter  that  the  high  standard  of  inspection  ruling  in 
the  British  exporting  countries  is  a  strong  argument  for  the 
removal  of  the  barriers  that  are  now  raised  against  this  trade. 
It  will,  'doubtless,  be  the  policy  of  British  producers  to  ask 
European  delegates  their  highest  demands  as  to  an  inspection 
standard,  and  then  to  satisfy  those  demands  as  far  as  their 
exports  are  concerned. 

The  veteran  refrigerating  engineer  and  inventor,  Charles 
Tellier,  whose  pioneer  work  is  recorded  elsewhere,  was  present 
at  the  Paris  Congress,  and  was  accorded  a  great  ovation. 
As  an  outcome  of  the  Congress  the  Association  Internationale 
du  Froid  was  formed,  besides  which  it  was  decided  to  hold  a 
second  Congress  in  Vienna  two  years  later  and  further  Con- 
triennially.  The  British  organization  of  these  Con- 
has  been  conducted  by  the  Cold  Storage  and  Ice 

T  2 


276     A  HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Association,  the  scientific  body  in  the  United  Kingdom  repre- 
sentative of  the  refrigerating  industry. 

The  Second  Congres  International  du  Froid  was  held  in 
Vienna  in  October,  1910.  Governmental  representatives  of  the 
meat  exporting  countries  were  well  to  the  fore,  and  Sir  William 
Hall-Jones,  High  Commissioner  for  New  Zealand,  moved  the 
following  resolution,  which  was  carried  unanimously  in  full 
Congress  : — 

"  That,  subject  to  every  reasonable  regulation  to  ensure 
sound  and  perfect  condition,  restrictions  operating  to  prevent 
the  introduction  of  refrigerated  meats  and  other  food  products 
into  countries  whose  inhabitants  would  benefit  by  their  addition 
to  their  food  supplies,  should  be  abolished  or  modified." 

At  the  Vienna  Congress  it  was  decided  to  hold  the  Third 
Congress  in  America  in  1913,  and  Chicago  has  been  fixed  upon 
as  the  centre  for  these  meetings  on  September  15  to  20  of  that 
year. 

Lord  Bacon's  Frigorific  Experiment. 

It  is  reported  that  as  early  as  in  1816  three  Esquimaux 
were  the  forerunners  of  the  commercial  pioneers  of  sixty- 
four  years  later.  They  brought  frozen  ptarmigan  and  other 
game  to  Harwich  packed  in  air-tight  cases.  They  had 
to  pay  £50  duty  and  £10  for  carriage,  but  this  produce  from 
the  frozen  North  sold  well.  Back  farther,  to  1626,  we  come 
to  the  incident,  which  no  conscientious  chronicler  can 
neglect,  in  which  Lord  Bacon  fell  a  victim  to  his  praiseworthy 
endeavours  to  open  up  the  frozen  meat  trade.  Here  is  the 
biographer's  statement : — 

King  James  died  in  1625.  His  unfortunate  and  ill-requited  Chancellor  (Bacon) 
survived  him  for  little  more  than  a  year.  Always  in  feeble  health  from  his  youth, 
his  life  was  finally  sacrificed  to  an  experiment.  He  believed  that  decomposition 
might  be  prevented  by  freezing  (then  an  original  idea),  and  he  determined  to 
ascertain,  experimentally,  if  he  was  right.  Therefore,  one  cold  spring  morning  he 
drove  to  Highgate,  alighted,  bought  a  fowl  at  a  neighbouring  cottage,  and  stuffed 
it  with  snow  which  lay  on  the  ground  around  him.  By  the  time  this  operation 
was  finished  he  felt  greatly  chilled,  and  sought  warmth  and  shelter  at  Lord 
Arundel's  house,  which  was  near  at  hand.  Here  he  was  gladly  welcomed  by  the 
household,  given  warm  cordials,  etc.,  and  was  put  into  a  damp  bed(!).  From  this 
fatal  hospitality  he  never  recovered  ;  and  he  seems  to  have  been  aware  that  he  was 
in  great  danger,  for  he  wrote  to  his  absent  host,  comparing  himself  to  the  elder 
Pliny,  who  lost  his  life  by  too  near  an  approach  to  Vesuvius  when  watching  a 


A   MISCELLANY  M77 

terrible  eruption,  )>ut  adding  that  his  own  experiment  had  ended  "excellently 
well."  A  forcr  and  cold  on  the  lung*  closed  the  career  of  one  of  the  greatest 
Englishmen  one  week  afterward*.  He  died  on  Batter  morn,  Oth  April,  1620,  at  the 

;»„•.•  ..f  •;>;. 

Let  the  reader  note  that  it  was  not  refrigeration  but  a  damp 
bed  which  ended  the  career  of  Lord  Bacon.  Many  people 
think  his  frigorific  experiment  brought  the  fatality. 

Nor  must  the  mammoth  be  lost  sight  of !  During  the  last 
fifty  years  mammoths  have  been  dug  up  in  Siberia  and  their 
flesh  found  in  excellent  condition,  after  preservation  for  who 
knows  how  many  centuries.  Only  the  other  day  came  the 
story  from  Russia  of  certain  men  of  science  who  cooked  and 
ate  part  of  a  mammoth  found  encased  in  ice  in  Siberia. 
Curiously  enough,  the  Life  of  Bishop  Ridding,  which  has  lately 
been  published,  tells  of  a  similar  banquet.  It  was  at  the 
Westminster  Deanery,  whither,  in  his  undergraduate  days, 
Frank  Buckland  sometimes  carried  off  young  Ridding  to 
partake  of  the  trying  hospitality  of  his  father,  the  Dean. 
"  His  sideboard  bristled  with  fossils,  and  his  tables  groaned 
under  meats  of  which  his  guests  ate  sparingly.  '  That  was 
mammoth  soup,  made  from  the  bones  of  a  mammoth  encased 
in  Siberian  ice  from  prehistoric  times  ! '  the  host  triumphantly 
informed  his  guests  one  day  after  they  had  eaten  it." 

South  Africa  as  a  Possible  Meat  Exporter. 

The  export  of  frozen  meat  of  late  years  has  been  adopted 
in  an  experimental  style  in  various  countries  which  are 
not  in  the  ordinary  way  on  the  list  of  suppliers  to  the 
British  markets.  One  or  two  small  lots  of  beef  and  lamb 
have  arrived  at  Smithfield,  London,  from  time  to  time 
from  South  Africa,  Natal  particularly.  The  venture  probably 
has  been  undertaken  more  to  test  the  quality  of  the 
Natalians'  stock  than  with  the  idea  of  establishing  a  regular 
Inisiness.  However,  it  tends  to  show  that  British  South  Africa 
hopes  to  supply  herself  with  beef  and  mutton.  Mr.  Francis 
Harrison,  the  Acting  Trades  Commissioner  for  the  Union  of 
South  Africa,  communicated  the  following  account  of  a  tiny 
;nmcnt  of  beef  from  Cape  Colony  that  arrived  in  London 


278     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

in  the  summer  of  1910  : — "  The  South  African  beef  in  question, 
consisting  of  a  carcass  weighing  126  stones,  realized  tyd.  per  Ib. 
The  quality  of  this  South  African  consignment  was  reported 
by  Smithfield  to  be,  if  anything,  superior  to  that  of 
the  beef  from  other  countries,  although  some  few  improve- 
ments were  suggested  in  the  matter  of  dressing,  and  the 
recommendation  was  made  to  ship  younger  cattle  hi  the  future, 
and,  if  possible,  in  a  cooled  state,  instead  of  being  frozen  hard." 


Frozen  Beef  from  St.  Helena. 

The  unexpected  happened  when  the  import  of  a  parcel  of 
frozen  beef  (8  sides)  from  this  island  into  London  occurred  in 
1909.  The  Imperial  Government  are  adamant,  as  a  rule,  to 
applications  for  subsidies  or  assistance  for  commercial  purposes, 
but  the  authors  learn  that  on  behalf  of  the  struggling  farmers 
of  this  Crown  Colony,  the  Government  of  Great  Britain 
extended  a  helping  hand  in  the  way  of  supervising  and  assisting 
the  small  shipment  of  beef,  which,  unfortunately,  realized  an 
unremunerative  price  for  the  consignors. 


Argentine  Meat  at  18d.  an  Ounce. 

A  startling  incident  occurred  in  1910  at  the  Palermo  Inter- 
national Fat  Stock  Show,  held  on  July  15.  Nothing  more 
remarkable  is  chronicled  in  this  book  than  the  contest 
between  the  Las  Palmas  frigorifico  and  La  Plata  frigorifico 
for  the  possession  of  a  bunch  of  five  Hereford  steers  owned  by 
Messrs.  Duggan  Brothers.  A  world's  record  was  established 
when  the  La  Plata  people  secured  the  animals  with  the  fabulous 
bid  of  $11,500  m/n  (£1,004)  per  beast,  the  cost  of  the  meat 
working  out  at  Is.  6d.  per  ounce.  The  La  Plata  company  took 
in  all  177  head  of  cattle,  at  a  cost  of  $310,600  m/n  (£27,116). 
These  cattle  were  all  chilled  and  exported  to  the  London 
market.  The  beef  was  of  splendid  quality,  but  suited  to  the 
winter  rather  than  the  summer  trade,  and  the  price  at  which  it 
sold  was  not  above  that  ruling  for  chilled  beef  of  primest 


A  MBCELLAN1 

quality.  When  asked,  after  the  Show,  for  some  explanation 
of  his  action  in  buying  the  Hereford*  at  over  £1,000  a  head, 
Mr.  Pry  or,  the  La  Plata  manager,  stated : — "  We  want 
Argentine  breeders  to  be  assured  that  if  they  will  only  pro- 
dii'  «•  the  right  sort  of  animals,  prices  will  be  forthcoming 
to  remunerate  them  amply." 


Canterbury  Mutton  at  the  Lord  Mayor's  Show. 

I  n  the  early  days  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  one  of  the  principal 
problems  which  confronted  the  importer  was  the  bringing  of 
the  meat  prominently  under  the  notice  of  the  masses  of  the 
population.  One  of  the  most  successful  efforts  in  this  direction 
was  made  with  carcasses  of  Canterbury  mutton,  selected  from 
parcels  consigned  to  the  New  Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile 
Agency  Co.,  Ltd.  By  the  combined  ingenuity  of  the  con- 
signees, their  Smithfield  salesmen,  Messrs.  Ward  and  Stimpson, 
and  a  leading  firm  of  carriers,  a  lorry  load  of  these  carcasses 
formed  one  of  the  exhibits  of  the  Lord  Mayor's  Show  in  the 
year  1885.  The  mystery  as  to  how  this  exhibit  came  to  form 
part  of  the  famous  procession  has  never  been  satisfactorily 
cleared  up  by  the  City  authorities,  but  the  fact  remains  that 
the  lorry  with  these  carcasses  hanging  from  a  specially  prepared 
framework  of  wooden  beams  traversed  the  streets  of  the  City 
and  formed  an  object  of  curiosity  and  interest  to  the  thousands 
of  cheering  sightseers  who  were  informed  by  placard  that  the 
carcasses  in  question  were  "New  Zealand  Frozen  Mutton— the 
Meat  of  the  Future."  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  lorry 
waa  driven  by  Mr.  Fardel! ,  principal  of  the  firm  of  van 
proprietors  referred  to  above,  into  the  unformed  procession 
behind  the  Guildhall.  Excellent  as  was  this  advertisement,  it 
did  not  end  with  the  mere  exhibition  of  the  meat  in  the  streets 
of  the  City,  for  the  morning  papers  of  the  following  day  all 
commented  upon  this  novel  feature  of  the  Lord  Mayor's  Show, 
some  treating  it  as  part  of  the  authorized  procession,  and 
others  indignantly  inquiring  how  it  was  the  lorry  with  its 
burden  found  a  place  in  the  time-honoured  pageant.  It  is 


280    A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

also  recorded  that  though  the  carcasses  lost  some  of  their 
bloom  by  exposure  to  the  murky  November  atmosphere,  they 
were  sold  at  Smithfield  on  the  following  morning  at  prices 
above  the  market  value  of  the  day  for  prime  carcasses,  as  the 
buyers  were  anxious  to  exhibit  them  in  their  shops  as  frozen 
mutton  which  had  formed  part  of  the  Lord  Mayor's  Show.  A 
very  smart  advertisement ! 


Kosher  Frozen  Meat. 

One  of  the  modern  distribution  developments  of  the  trade 
in  Great  Britain  is  indicated  in  the  following  advertisement 
which  appeared  in  The  Jewish  World  of  August  19,  1910  : — 

NOTICE  TO  THE  JEWISH  PUBLIC  : — We  hereby  give  notice  that  the  Ecclesias- 
tical Authorities  and  the  London  Board  of  Shechita  have  granted  facilities  for  the 
importation  of  Chilled  and  Frozen  Kosher  Meat  from  Argentine.  This  meat  is 
prepared  by  officials  authorised  by  the  Ecclesiastical  Authorities,  and  appointed 
by  the  Board  of  Shechita.  The  meat  is  porged  and  Koshered  prior  to  being 
shipped,  and  is  therefore  ready  for  use.  The  first  consignment  has  arrived  and 
will  be  followed  by  consignments  at  regular  intervals.  It  is  now  on  sale  in  the 
shops  of  retail  butchers  holding  the  Licence  of  the  Board.  Honvitz  &  Abrahams, 
Limited,  Importers,  56  Aldgate  High  Street,  E.C. 

The  first  lot  of  kosher  frozen  fores  of  beef — from  the  Campana 
works — arrived  in  London  in  August,  1910.  A  five  years' 
contract  was  entered  into  with  the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co. 
for  the  supply  of  regular  consignments.  The  whole  scheme 
was  pushed  forward  by  the  Jewish  authorities  in  the  interest 
of  the  poorer  sections  of  the  Jewish  community,  owing  to  the 
high  prices  of  home  and  European  supplies.  At  the  time  of 
the  arrival  of  the  above-mentioned  shipment,  prime  English 
Kosher  forequarters  sold  at  6%d.  per  Ib.  ;  the  Argentine  kosher 
fores  made  3d.  to  3$d.  Over  ten  years  ago  Nelson  Brothers 
made  a  bold  bid  for  this  business,  but  the  scruples  then  of  the 
Shechita  Board  on  religious  grounds  could  not  be  got  over,  and 
it  is  unfortunate  that  six  months  after  the  launching  of  the 
later  enterprise  recounted  above  the  official  announcement 
had  to  be  made  that  the  trade  had  not  proved  a  success. 


A    Mix  H.I. ANY  J81 

When  the  Jewish  retail  butchers  expressed  fhrir  failure  to 
create  a  demand  for  the  meat,  the  Jewish  authorities  arranged 
for  its  sale  from  a  shop  opened  especially  for  this  purpose,  but 
r\.  M  this  enterprise  was  not  rewarded  with  success,  thanks  to 
|tn  judice  which,  presumably,  is  to  be  found  among  Jews  as 
well  as  Gentiles. 

Doubts  are  expressed  as  to  the  likelihood  of  a  trade  in 
kosher  frozen  meat  ever  being  built  up,  unless  the  authorities 
are  prepared  to  alter  their  regulations  to  permit  of  salting 
after  delivery  in  Great  Britain.  For  it  is  stated  that  the  salt 
used  in  koshering  renders  the  meat  unfit  for  the  application 
of  freezing. 

Some  description  of  koshering  meat  may  here  be  given  in 
the  words  of  a  Jewish  Rabbi: — "With  one  swoop  of  the  knife 
we  have  to  cut  two  pipes  in  the  throat — the  oesophagus  and  the 
thorax.  If  at  least  half  of  each  of  the  pipes  are  cut  with  one 
swoop,  the  animal  is  considered  to  be  properly  killed.  It 
does  not  live  more  than  a  minute  after  the  cut,  and  there  is 
not  the  slightest  doubt  that  within  ten  seconds  after  the  knife 
has  passed  across  the  throat  there  is  no  consciousness  of  pain, 
and  in  that  respect,  at  any  rate,  it  has  a  great  advantage  over 
the  ordinary  method  of  pole-axing.  When  an  animal  has 
ceased  to  live,  the  slaughterer  makes  an  examination  of  the 
lungs,  and  the  slightest  anatomical  derangement  or  defect  may 
cause  the  animal  to  be  discarded  as  unfit  for  human  food.  If, 
on  manual  examination,  everything  is  found  to  be  satisfactory, 
thru  the  lungs  are  removed  and  examined  optically,  and  if 
then  there  is  nothing  unsatisfactory,  the  shochet  requests  one 
of  the  attendants  to  distend  the  lungs  by  blowing,  and  soon 
they  reach  the  size  and  become  just  as  they  were  in  the  body 
before  death.  If  he  puts  a  little  moisture  on  any  suspected 
<luring  the  time  of  distent  ion  the  air  will  escape.  If  any 
.-in-  escapes,  it  will  be  seen  by  the  bubbles  rising  fnmi  tin- 
ton  placed  there.  If  there  are  bubbles,  the  animal  is 
considered  to  be  '  trifah,'  or  until.  If  it  is  all  right,  the 
shochet  places  a  little  leaden  stamp  upon  the  various  parts 
of  t  he  carcass,  on  which  is  written  the  word  '  kosher  '  in 
Hebrew  on  one  side  and  the  day  of  the  week  on  the  other,  and 


282    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

thus  the  meat  is  guaranteed  to  be  fit  for  food.  If  our  contention 
is  correct,  and  we  can  trace  most  diseases  by  examination  of 
the  lungs,  it  is  evident  we  do,  at  least,  something  from  the 
sanitary  standpoint  in  discarding  such  animals  as  are  unfit. 
Even  after  the  meat  has  been  purchased  and  brought  home,  it 
is  not  done  with.  The  blood  is  removed,  so  far  as  possible,  by 
soaking  the  meat  in  water  for  half  an  hour,  and  then  it  is 
covered  with  salt,  the  salt  being  again  removed  by  rinsing. 
That  process  is  called  making  the  meat  '  kosher.'  The  flesh 
of  beasts  dying  from  any  other  cause  than  death  by  the  shochet 
is  forbidden.  The  veins  and  arteries  are,  before  eating,  removed 
by  a  peculiar  process.  Diseased  or  dying  animals  must  not 
be  killed.  The  *  kosher '  Jew  does  not  eat  the  hindquarters 
of  the  animal." 


An  Early  Welcome  to  Frozen  Meat, 

In  the  account  of  the  efforts  of  the  pioneers  of  the  frozen 
meat  trade,  the  work  of  Mr.  John  Grigg,  of  Longbeach,  New 
Zealand,  must  be  noted.  The  following  account  of  the  recep- 
tion in  this  country  of  meat  shipped  by  Mr.  Grigg  on  the 
Dunedin  in  1881  is  given  by  his  son,  Mr.  J.  C.  N.  Grigg  : — 

"  When  the  sailing  ship  Dunedin  left  Port  Chalmers,  part  of 
the  cargo  were  some  half-bred  Shropshire  wethers  and  lambs 
railed  from  Longbeach  by  my  father,  John  Grigg,  and  con- 
signed to  the  New  Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.  in 
London.  Three  lambs  and  two  wethers  were  consigned  direct 
to  me  at  Cambridge,  they  were  delivered  to  me  on  a  Monday, 
and  directly  they  arrived  I  had  them  put  in  a  fishmonger's  ice 
room  and  wrapped  in  a  blanket,  where  they  remained  thawing 
until  Thursday.  Kettle  was  the  name  of  the  Jesus  College 
cook  who  agreed  to  cook  the  three  lambs  and  sheep  all  at  once. 
On  Thursday  afternoon  I  went  to  the  kitchen  at  4  p.m.,  and 
saw  them  all  being  spitted,  the  joints  being  turned  by  the  old 
smoke  jack.  I  told  Kettle  the  sheep  were  from  New  Zealand, 
but  asked  him  not  to  tell  anyone.  Next  day  the  men  in  the 
Jesus  first  boat  (then  head  of  the  river)  were  lunching  with 


A   MISCELLANY 

me,  and  I  had  two  cold  joints  of  Canterbury  lamb  on  the  table. 
It  was  only  natural  that  men  in  training  should  have  two 
helpings,  but  when  one  said,  '  You  will  think  me  damned 
greedy,  Grigg,  but  the  lamb  is  so  good,  I  must  ask  for  a  third 
lie  1 1  ting,' and  another  followed  suit,  I  was  delighted,  and  then 
I  told  them  the  lamb  was  from  New  Zealand,  much  to  their 
surprise. 

"  Stephen  Fairbairn,  of  Melbourne,  was  one  of  the 
Mini,  and  he  was  very  excited,  as  his  father  was  chairman 
of  the  first  freezing  company  formed  in  Victoria.  I  wrote 
at*  once  to  my  father  to  say  how  excellent  the  mutton 
and  lamb  were,  especially  the  latter,  which  was  perfectly 
sweet  and  good  several  days  after  leaving  the  freezing 
chamber. 

"  After  this  first  shipment  I  received  letters  from  my  father 
expressing  great  confidence  and  hope  in  the  future  of  the 
frozen  meat  trade.  My  father  with  others  in  Canterbury  at 
once  started  to  build  freezing  works  at  Belfast,  after  forming 
a  small  farmers'  company." 


Flock  Maintenance  and  Exports. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  export  of  frozen  sheep  and 
lambs  from  Now  Zealand,  increasing  steadily  (the  period 
1903 — 1904  was  the  only  exception)  as  it  has  from  1882  to  the 
present  time,  has  not  depleted  the  flocks  of  the  Dominion ; 
indeed,  the  frozen  meat  export  has  been  accompanied  by  a 
steady  growth,  from  about  13,000,000  head  of  sheep  in  1881 
to  about  20,000,000  in  1901,  at  which  date  New  Zealand  was 
shipping  16 per  cent,  of  her  flocks  to  Great  Britain  in  the  form 
of  frozen  sheep  and  lambs,  a  percentage  which  rose  in  1903  to 
24  permit.  In  1903 — 1904  sheep  fell  in  numbers,  but  an  up  ward 
movement  set  in  again  in  1905,  and  has  continued  to  the  date 
of  the  last  official  enumeration.  In  the  United  Kingdom,  with 
an  area  not  very  much  more  extensive  than  that  of  New 
Zealand,  there  are  32,000,000  sheep,  and  the  annual  killing  of 
sheep  and  lambs  is  about  40  per  cent.,  and  of  cattle  25  per  cent. 


284    A   HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 


So  New  Zealand's  sheep  stock  will,  no  doubt,  still  further 
increase.     The  following  figures  illustrate  this  paragraph  : — 


— 

Sheep  in  New  Zealand. 

Frozen  Mutton  and  Lambs 
Exported. 

Carcasses. 

1886 

16,565,000 

656,000 

1891 

18,128,000 

1,894,000 

1901 

20,233,000 

3,234,000 

1909 

23,481,000 

5,035,000 

1910 

24,269,620 

5,407,000 

The  wonderful  position  of  New  Zealand  to-day  in  the  export 
of  frozen  meat  is  due  to  the  suitability  of  the  land  for  sheep 
breeding  and  the  evenness  and  mildness  of  her  climate.  That 
the  Dominion  can  keep  on  exporting  such  a  very  large  propor- 
tion of  its  sheep,  and  still  go  on  increasing  the  number  of  its 
permanent  flocks,  is  due  to  the  high  percentage  of  lambs 
reared.  Roughly  speaking,  the  percentage  of  lambs  reared 
year  after  year  is  about  90  per  cent.  Many  farmers  in  Canter- 
bury rear  120  per  cent.,  and  in  some  cases  still  higher  percen- 
tages are  recorded. 

Enter  Mr.  Hooley. 

An  incident  that  may  be  mentioned  here  was  the  temporary 
appearance  of  Mr.  Ernest  T.  Hooley  in  the  frozen  meat  trade 
arena  in  1897.  On  May  21  of  that  year,  his  solicitors,  Messrs. 
Ashwell  and  Tutin,  issued  a  circular  letter  in  which  it  was 
stated  that  he  was  prepared  to  "  form  a  combination,"  if 
supported  by  the  industry,  with  the  object  of  placing  the  frozen 
meat  trade  upon  a  satisfactory  footing.  His  plan  was  to 
amalgamate  the  freezing  companies  in  Australasia,  and  he  was 
prepared  to  purchase  the  companies  on  the  basis  of  the  net 
assets  as  per  balance  sheet  plus  a  bonus  equal  to  the  aggregate 
amount  of  dividends  paid  during  the  previous  seven  years. 
A  new  company  would  be  formed  in  London  with  a  larger 
capital  than  the  aggregate  values  of  the  concerns  taken  over. 
Mr.  Hooley's  idea  was  that  the  trade  on  this  side  lacked  capital 
and  organization,  and  he  thought  a  combine  would  improve 


A   MISCELLANY 

market  prices.  Mr.  Marshall  Stevens,  the  late  managing 
director  of  the  Manchester  Ship  Canal,  worked  out  the  details 
of  this  proposal,  which  came  to  nought.  The  complexities 
of  the  frozen  meat  business  did  not  yield,  as  other  problems 
had  done,  to  Mr.  Hooley's  magic  touch. 

A  Cargo  in  Coffins. 

A  rat  In •[•  amusing  but  disastrous  incident  connected  with 
tin-  early  shipments  of  frozen  meat  in  the  New  Zealand  trade, 
is  toKl  by  Mr.  Frank  Coxon,  the  well-known  Australian  con- 
sult ing  engineer.  The  incident  may  be  told  in  Mr.  Coxon's  own 
words :  "It  occurred  in  connection  with  the  sailing  ship 
Mataura,  I  think  on  her  third  voyage.  She  was  sent  to 
Auckland  to  freeze  and  load  a  cargo  of  mutton  at  that  port, 
and  the  charterers  of  the  frozen  space  were  anxious  to  encourage 
every  local  industry  in  their  power,  with  the  result  that  it 
was  decided  that  each  carcass  of  mutton  should  be  placed  in 
a  Kauri  box,  or  '  coffin,'  as  these  receptacles  were  popularly 
called  on  board,  in  lieu  of  the  usual  cotton  bags.  This  was 
carried  out,  and  after  considerable  freezing  had  been  done, 
the  captain,  who  was  not  satisfied  with  the  appearance  of 
things,  communicated  with  his  owners,  who  at  once  sent  me 
to  Auckland  to  look  into  matters.  On  examination  of  the 
cargo,  I  condemned  the  system  as  being  quite  unsuitable,  the 
boxes  entirely  obstructing  the  circulation  of  the  air  round  the 
meat ;  this  I  explained  to  the  charterers,  but  they  refused  to 
act  on  my  advice,  and  the  ship  sailed  for  London.  Needless  to 
say,  the  whole  cargo  had  to  be  jettisoned  at  sea  before  its 
destination  was  reached." 

A  Frozen  Meat  Cooking  Recipe. 

The  following  "  directions  for  cooking  New  Zealand  and 
other  fro/en  mutton,"  issued  by  the  New  Zealand  Loan  and 
Mercantile  Agency  Co.  in  the  early  eighties,  shows  that  more 
care  was  then  taken  in  this  important  department  of  the  trade 
than  is  the  case  now.  "  Frozen  meat,  like  English,  improves 
by  hanging.  The  hindquarters  will  keep  a  week  in  cool 


286    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

weather,  the  forequarters  may  be  cooked  sooner.  As  there  is 
a  tendency  for  the  juice  to  run  from  the  mutton  while  thawing, 
it  should  be  hung  in  such  a  way  as  to  check  this.  The  hind- 
quarter,  haunch,  and  leg,  should  be  hung  by  the  flaps,  the 
knuckles  hanging  down,  the  loins  and  saddles  also  by  the  flaps, 
giving  them  a  horizontal  position.  This  meat  should  not  be 
soaked  in  water  for  the  purpose  of  thawing  (as  some  suppose), 
but  hung  in  the  larder  or  other  dry,  draughty  place,  and  wiped 
occasionally  with  a  dry  cloth  in  damp  weather.  Flour  should 
not  be  used,  as  it  is  apt  to  turn  sour.  When  put  down  for 
cooking,  the  chump  part  of  the  leg  or  loin  should  be  exposed  to 
the  fire,  or  hottest  part  of  the  oven,  for  a  few  minutes,  to  toast 
the  part  cut  and  so  seal  it  up,  thus  keeping  the  gravy  in  the 
joint." 

A  Frigid  Message. 

The  housewife  who,  about  1888,  found  pushed  up  alongside 
the  bone  in  a  leg  of  mutton  (which  she  had  purchased  as 
English  at  9dL  a  lb.),  a  piece  of  paper  bearing  this  legend  : — 
"  Where  did  you  buy  this  leg,  and  what  price  did  you  pay  ? 
inform  J.  C.,  Ashburton,  Christchurch,  N.Z.,"  must  have  been 
surprised. 

Tallerman  Enterprises. 

Some  interest  attaches  to  the  work  done  by  Mr.  Daniel 
Tallerman  in  introducing  Australian  preserved  meats  at 
cheap  price  during  the  times  of  scarcity  that  preceded  the 
Strathleven  voyage.  Mr.  Tallerman  arrived  from  Melbourne  to 
settle  in  London  in  1868,  bringing  some  packages  of  meat  in 
tallow  with  him.  This  meat  was  mild-cured,  boned  mutton, 
enclosed  in  a  linen  envelope,  and  was  rolled  like  sides  of  bacon. 
It  was  packed  in  casks,  and  tallow  was  run  round  the  meat. 
This  mutton  carried  well,  and  when  chopped  into  mincemeat 
and  cooked  with  potatoes  it  made  an  appetizing,  nutritious,  and 
economical  dish,  the  potatoes  absorbing  the  fat.  At  one  time 
there  were  100  tons  of  the  meat  on  hand  in  London.  Mr. 
Tallerman  and  his  "  Penny  Dinners  "  at  Norton  Folgate  were 


A   iMISCELLAM  ."s7 

famous  from  1868  to  1872.  The  movement  was  initiated  by  a 
gigantic  banquet  to  1,400  London  working  men  and  women  at 
the  Lambeth  Batha  on  December  1,  1869,  at  which  many 
Australians  were  present.  The  following  is  from  Punch, 
January  8,  1870  :— 

"  The  French  Emperor  having  expressed  a  desire  to  test 
some  of  the  Australian  meat,  which  furnishes  the  penny 
dinners  in  Norton  Folgate,  Mr.  Tallerman,  manager  of  the 
Australian  Meat  Agency,  at  once  submitted  samples  to  the 
Tuilerics.  The  Emperor,  on  the  principle  of  fiat  experimentum 
in  corpore  vili,  caused  some  of  the  meat  to  be  cooked  for  the 
soldiers  on  guard.  Finding  that  they  survived  it,  and  even,  like 
Oliver  Twist,  asked  for  more,  he  ordered  the  same  dish  to  be 
set  before  the  principal  officers  of  the  Imperial  Household. 
The  officers,  unlike  the  privates,  shuddered,  but  ate,  and  to 
their  own  amazement,  relished ;  and  then  the  Emperor  tried 
it  himself,  pronounced  it  good,  and  expressed  his  gracious 
intention  of  causing  a  more  extended  trial  to  be  made — we 
presume  on  the  Empress  and  the  entourage." 

The  British  public  were  very  much  prejudiced  against 
preserved  meat  in  any  form  owing  to  the  disastrous  outturn 
of  some  shipments  from  South  America  of  "  charqui  "  (1866 
to  1868).  The  Observer  of  October  31,  1868,  spoke  of  "  the 
macerated  caoutchouc-like  lumps  of  charqui  which  earned  the 
execrations  of  the  populace  " ;  Australian  meat  was  popularly 
termed  "  charqui  "  for  some  time. 

Mr.  Tallerman  formed  a  company  for  each  class  of  meat  he 
handled.  The  Norton  Folgate  campaign  was  conducted  by 
him  at  his  own  risk  and  expense.  Later  on  he  turned  his 
attention  to  tinned  meats,  which  he  showed  at  the  Vienna 
Exhibition  of  1873.  The  Emperor  of  Austria  tasted  Australian 
meat,  and  was  so  pleased  with  it  that  he  made  Mr.  Tallerman 
a  "  Hitter  Kreitz  "  of  the  Order  of  Francis  Joseph.  Mr. 
Tallerman  acted  in  London  for  the  French  company  which 
financed  M.  Tellier's  Frigorifiqite  venture,  and  he  imported 
into  Great  Britain  about  10  tons  of  the  meat.  The  newspapers 
from  1868  for  ten  years  or  so  were  full  of  Mr.  Tallerman's 
enterprises  for  introducing  meat  preserved  in  all  sorts  of  ways. 


288    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

In  1874  he  took  premises  in  Upper  Thames  Street,  and  fitted 
up  a  patent  refrigerator.  In  1879  he  opened  up  a  retail 
department  for  the  selling  of  American  dressed  beef  in  one  of 
the  arches  of  the  railway  ;  Mr.  Tallerman  and  the  salesman  in 
charge  (Mr.  Burket)  worked  in  co-operation.  This  is  mentioned 
on  account  of  the  enormous  interest  excited.  Mr.  Tallerman 
declares  that  50,000  people  a  week  visited  the  premises,  many 
of  whom  purchased  meat,  and  that  £100  a  week  was  paid  in 
tolls  (%d.  per  lb.).  A  merry  season  of  fourteen  weeks  was 
experienced,  in  which  £30,000  was  taken.  This  enterprise, 
however,  was  short  lived,  the  salesman-partner  left,  the  boom 
collapsed,  and  the  place  was  soon  closed. 

Frozen  Meat  Squibs. 

An  amusing  hoax  was  perpetrated  in  the  seventies  on  the 
Press  and  public  of  Australia.  It  proceeded  from  the  pen  of  a 
well-known  gentleman  in  Brisbane,  who  gravely  described  how 
experiments  had  been  successfully  carried  on  at  freezing  works 
in  Sydney  Harbour  on  a  live  lamb,  which  after  having  been 
frozen  hard  under  the  influence  of  drugs  had  been  unfrozen 
again  at  the  end  of  six  months  and  thawed  out  alive  (!)  and, 
with  the  exception  of  the  tail,  absolutely  sound.  (The  tail 
had  been  snapped  off  in  the  process.)  This  was  cabled  home 
and  created  great  commotion  in  interested  circles,  and  a 
leading  London  journal,  carried  away  with  the  excitement, 
devoted  a  leader  to  the  subject.  Allied  to  this  yarn  there  was 
current  at  the  same  period,  say  about  1875,  at  the  squatters' 
clubs  in  Queensland,  the  story  that  steps  had  been  taken  to 
analyse  the  poison  which  the  "  mason  wasp  " — to  temporarily 
poison  its  victims — injects  into  the  bodies  of  the  spiders  placed 
in  the  nest  in  which  the  eggs  of  the  wasp  are  sealed  up. 
(These  clever  insects,  well  known  to  all  residents  in  Queensland, 
stuff  the  bag  charged  with  eggs  and  spiders  into  keyholes,  gun- 
barrels,  etc.,  and  then  close  up  the  apertures.  When  the 
young  wasps  emerge  from  the  eggs  they  break  up  the  sac  and 
admit  the  air,  whereupon  the  unfortunate  spiders,  which  had 
been  in  a  condition  of  suspended  life,  revive,  only  to  be 


A   MISCELLAM  M> 

devoured  by  the  young  wasps.)  This  suggested  a  lively  squib, 
directed  at  Mort  and  his  work.  When  the  mason  wasp's 
poison  had  been  fixed,  it  was  to  be  artificially  manufactured 
and  injected  into  tlio  bodies  of  cattle  and  sheep  intended  for 
tin-  Kiiuli-li  market.  After  the  animals  had  been  treated,  they 
were  to  be  placed  in  ships'  holds  and  hermetically  sealed  up. 
On  docking  at  London,  the  inrush  of  air,  following  upon  the 
opening  up  of  the  chambers,  would  reanimate  the  stock,  like 
the  mason  wasp's  spider  victims,  and,  hey  presto  !  fat  beeves 
and  plump  woollies  from  Australia's  plains  would  be  soliciting 
the  custom  of  the  English  butcher. 


F.M. 


CHAPTER  XX 

THE   DIETETICS   OF  FROZEN   MEAT 

THE  dietetic  value  of  frozen  meat  is  really  proved  by  the 
fact  that  it  is  consumed  and  found  perfectly  acceptable  by  all 
classes  in  Great  Britain.  But,  possibly,  its  food- value  may 
not  be  completely  represented  by  its  popularity.  Public 
experience  and  scientific  tests  have  long  ago  vindicated  frozen 
meat,  so  that  when,  for  instance,  in  September,  1909,  Mr. 
Rowland  Hunt  in  the  House  of  Commons  asked  ironically  if 
the  War  Minister  was  aware  that,  according  to  a  pamphlet 
issued,  experts  consider  that  one  pound  of  freshly-killed  beef  is 
worth  a  stone  of  frozen  meat,  nothing  more  than  an  outrage 
on  common  sense  was  perpetrated.  Mr.  (now  Lord)  Haldane 
neatly  countered  by  saying  that  "  he  was  sure  that  the 
hon.  member  had,  without  knowing  it,  flourished  on  frozen 
meat."  The  Minister  realized  that  to  reply  directly  to 
the  query  would  be  an  insult  to  the  intelligence  of  the 
House  of  Commons !  It  may  be  well,  however,  to  bring 
forward  in  this  chapter  conclusive  evidence  that  frozen  meat, 
as  to  primeness  of  quality  and  excellence  of  condition,  is 
sound  and  sterling  food  ;  that  the  processes  through  which 
it  has  passed  have  caused  no  injury  and  deprived  the  meat 
of  none  of  its  nourishing  value.  Further,  there  may  be  put  on 
record  statements  of  practical  men,  and  the  results  of  scientists' 
researches. 

To  begin  at  the  beginning,  on  p.  98  are  given  some 
particulars  of  the  enormous  sums  paid  by  breeders  in  the 
Argentine  for  pure-bred  sheep  and  cattle  imported  from  Great 
Britain.  The  progeny  of  the  rams  and  bulls  purchased  from 
the  pedigree  flocks  and  herds  of  the  British  breeder  have  been 
sent  to  England  in  the  form  of  frozen  meat.  The  object  of  the 
South  American  buyer  of  these  expensive  animals  was  to 


THE  DIETETICS  OF  FROZEN  MEAT          '.MM 

improve  the  native  stock  in  the  Republic  BO  that  the  dead 
meat  exported  might  be  of  unexceptionable  quality.  Without 
forcing  any  comparison  between  the  frozen  meat  imported  into 
Great  Britain  nml  the  home  stock  slaughtered  for  food,  there 
can  be  no  doubt  that,  if  it  were  possible  to  compare  the  frozen 
and  chilled  meats  marketed  throughout  England  and  Scotland 
on  a  given  day  with  home-fed  meats  of  all  grades,  and  strike 
averages  for  quality,  the  imported  meat  would  not  be  the 
inferior.  As  in  Argentina  and  Uruguay,  so  in  Australia  and 
New  Zealand,  where  the  whole  of  the  flocks  and  herds  are  of 
Hritish  blood.  For  many  years  past  the  stockmen  in  those 
countries  have  been  steadily  buying  pedigree  sheep  and,  to  a 
lees  extent,  cattle,  from  English  and  Scotch  breeders.  The 
Kent  or  Romney  Marsh,  Shropshire,  Southdown,  Hampshire 
and  Oxford  Downs,  Dorset  Horn — numbers  of  rams  from  these 
meat  breeds  are  exported  to  Australasia  yearly.  What  is  the 
meaning  of  all  this  ?  Simply  that  in  eating  frozen  meat  we 
are  eating — to  a  great  extent — just  the  same  class  and  grades 
of  meat  as  we  should  order  from  English  and  Scotch  grazing 
districts.  It  would  be  a  good  thing  if  the  Government  of  New 
Zealand  were  to  cause  a  circular  to  be  sent  to  every  house- 
holder in  England  announcing  the  fact  that  the  Kent  or 
Romney  Marsh  sheep  exhibited  by  Mr.  Ernest  Short,  of 
Parorangi,  New  Zealand,  at  the  Argentine  1910  Centenary 
Show  beat  the  British  sheep  of  the  same  class  and  took 
championship  honours.  This  is  the  stock  from  which  New 
Zealand  meat  is  bred  ! 

Scientific  Tests. 

In  previous  chapters  have  been  described  the  processes 
through  which  the  frozen  meat  passes  from  the  time  it  leaves 
the  freezing  works  until  it  arrives  at  the  English  butcher's  shop. 
The  experience  of  thirty  years  in  conducting  the  trade  has 
eliminated  all  faulty  methods  and  has  established  such  a 
smooth  procedure  that  accidents  and  mischances  in  the 
conveyance  of  the  meat  from  point  to  point  which  would 
with  good  condition  are  relatively  rare,  and  if  the 

u  li 


292     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

treatment  to  which  reference  has  several  times  been  made, 
viz.,  sufficient  thawing  out,  is  observed  frozen  meat  ranks  with 
the  best ! 

To  revert  a  while  and  meet  the  objection  of  the  critic  who 
says  that  freezing  injures  meat,  the  point  might  almost  be 
answered  in  general  terms.  Did  the  Beefsteak  Club  find  that 
the  freezing  process  had  spoiled  the  flavour  of  the  Canterbury 
wethers  that  pleased  them  so  mightily  ?  Do  the  millions  who 
enjoy  the  tender  frozen  lambs  find  the  pleasure  to  their  palate 
lessened  owing  to  the  carcasses  having  been  subject  to  King 
Frost  for  a  couple  of  months  or  so  ?  But  let  us  see  what 
scientific  men  say. 

Back  in  1896  the  London  journal  the  Hospital  printed  some 
articles  giving  the  results  of  certain  quantitative  cooking  tests 
made  by  Mr.  Samuel  Rideal,  D.Sc.  (Lond.),  F.I.C.,  which  tests 
showed  that  frozen  meat  was  digestible,  nutritious,  palatable, 
and  economical.  This  examination  certainly  has  historical 
interest,  in  view  of  its  being  undertaken  for  the  purpose  of 
publicly  dissipating  current  prejudices  against  frozen  meat. 
Under  the  direction  of  a  clever  practical  cook,  two  legs  of 
mutton  of  nearly  equal  weight  were  baked  for  an  equal  length 
of  time  in  ovens  equally  heated.  No.  1  was  English  grown  and 
killed  and  cost  lOd.  per  Ib.  ;  No.  2  was  the  best  New  Zealand 
frozen  mutton,  thawed  at  the  butcher's,  and  sent  in  ready 
for  use.  Two  and  a  quarter  hours  were  given  to  the  baking, 
and  the  following  are  the  resultant  figures  : 

English.  New  Zealand. 

Ibs.    ozs.  Ibs.    ozs. 

Weight  when  delivered  by  the  butcher    8      6  7     1-t 

Weight  when  taken  from  the  oven           515  513 

Seven  sub-tests  were  made  as  to  weight  of  slices  suitable  for 
hospital  diet,  bone  and  waste,  gravy,  etc.,  in  all  of  which  the 
frozen  joint  held  its  own.  "It  is  clear,"  wrote  the  Hospital, 
"  even  from  one  experiment  that  the  assertion  that  New 
Zealand  meat  is  essentially  and  invariably  more  wasteful  than 
English  cannot  be  supported."  Then  the  Hospital  commis- 
sioned Dr.  Rideal  to  undertake  tests  concerning  the  nutritive 


III!     DILTETICS  OP  FROZEN   MEAT 

and  digestible  properties  of  frozen  meat.  The  three  kinds  of 
mutton  selected  for  comparison  were  London-killed  Scotch,  at 
lOd.  per  Ib. ;  frozen  Canterbury,  at  Sd.  per  Ib. ;  and  frozen 
Australian,  from  merino  sheep,  at  4d.  per  Ib.  In  these 
experiments  the  Australian  and  New  Zealand  mutton  well 
hold  their  own  with  the  Scotch  meat. 

In  1897  Dr.  Rideal  made  an  exhaustive  examination  of 
Queensland  beef,  comparing  it  with  chilled  American  and 
English  ox  beef.  In  view  of  the  oft-repeated  statement  aa  to 
the  effect  of  freezing  upon  meat,  it  is  of  importance  to  place 
on  record  this  sentence  from  the  report :  "In  the  micro- 
scopical examination,  the  samples  when  thawed  showed  that 
tlir  meat  fibres  had  not  been  ruptured  or  altered  in  any  way 
by  the  hard  freezing  process  adopted  by  Queensland  shippers." 
Dr.  Rideal  continued  : — 

I  can  confidently  assert  that  both  with  regard  to  digestibility  and  for  the 
preparation  of  soups  or  beef  tea  the  hard  frozen  meat  is  of  intrinsically  the  same 
value  as  that  which  has  been  chilled  or  freshly  killed. 

The  above  quotation  of  a  scientist's  statement  that  freezing 
has  no  injurious  effect  on  the  structure  of  the  meat  is  neces- 
sary in  view  of  the  fact  that  critics  constantly  assert  that 
t  ha \\ing  frozen  meat  acts  on  the  fibre  as  does  melting  ice  in 
water  pipes  in  a  sudden  thaw. 

In  1007  Dr.  Rideal  made  further  analytical  experiments  to 

mine  the  nutritive  value  of  frozen  and  chilled  Argentine 

beef  and  of   Australian  lamb  and  mutton  as  compared  with 

English  meat.    Analysis  of  lean  from  samples  of  beef  tested 

gave  the  following  percentages  : — 


- 

BMfShin*. 

BMfBUaks. 

AI,-V  MM 

<  h.'.:    :. 

Argentine 

1  :     ••  ;•. 

K-,  ;'.-',. 

ArmUM 

.   :.....! 

AncmUM 

1  :.     . 

!'• 

Water  ... 

74-32 

74-84 

;-,  ,;.-. 

74-84 

6147 

Pat 

1-27 

0-88 

1-11 

9-18 

."."> 

13-04 

Meat  fibre  extractives 

and  associated  mine- 

ral matter  

21  11 

24-28 

.M  .'.; 

•  t  • 

Total  nitrogen 

3-21 

3-34 

3-13 

2-88 

2-56 

1-73 

294     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 


In  testing  for  the  comparative  digestibility  of    steak  the 
following  results  were  obtained  : — 


Argentine  Chilled. 
61-99 


Argentine  Frozen. 
69-89 


English. 
63'78 


the  percentages  of  lean  portions  of  meat  available  for  digestive 
purposes  turning  out  in  the  three  cases  as  follow  : — 


Argentine  Chilled. 
8i'4 


Argentine  Frozen. 
85-3 


English. 
72-2 


The  housewife,  who  in  the  past  has  had  preached  to  her  such 
tales  as  to  the  wasting  qualities  of  imported  meat  on  cooking, 
might  with  profit  study  the  following  results  of  baking  tests 
made  in  the  course  of  Dr.  Rideal's  investigations  : — 


- 

Welsh 
Lamb. 

Australian 
Lamb. 

English 
Mutton. 

Australian 
Mutton. 

Ibs.    ozs. 

Ibs.      ozs. 

Ibs.    ozs. 

Ibs.      ozs. 

Weight  when  delivered  ... 

4       15 

5         7fc 

8       10 

8         9 

Weight  when  taken  from 

oven       

4         2J 

4       15 

6       13J 

6         7J 

Weight  of  slices  suitable 

for  hospital  diet 

2       13J 

3         8J 

4         -1J 

4        6 

Weight     of     bone     and 

waste     

1        OJ 

1         11 

2         4 

1       11 

Pure  bone  

9 

8J 

1         2 

13 

Dripping    

M 

4| 

HI 

1        OJ 

Gravy  in  dish  after  carv- 

ing          

l| 

2 

1 

31 

Gravy  under  dripping    .  . 

* 

J 

1 

Then  as  to  its  digestibility,  the  same  authority  arrived  at 
the  following  figures  of  percentages  : — 


Welsh 
Lamb. 

Australian 
Lamb. 

English 
Mutton. 

Australian 
Mutton. 

Water     

58-55 

57-65 

57-79 

57-32 

Fat          

4-11 

6-62 

7-53 

9-68 

Organic  matter  and  associated  mineral 
matter...           .         ... 

37-34 

35-73 

34-68 

33-00 

Percentage    of    nitrogenous    organic 
matter  digested        

19-91 

15-25 

18-20 

12-48 

The  concluding  remark  of  Dr.  Rideal  in  his  report  as  to  this 
close  scrutiny  of  the  value  of  refrigerated  meat  is  that  "It  is 
satisfactory  to  find  the  general  opinion  confirmed  that  no 


Tin:    Dll.Tl.riC8  OF  FROZEN  MK.vr 

incipient  decomposition  or  hydrolysis  takes  place  under  cold 
storage  ;  while  this  further  series  of  tests  also  fully  supports 
the  favourable  conclusions  arrived  at  as  the  result  of  previous 
experiments,  by  further  illustrating  the  satisfactory  food 
values  of  frozen  mutton  and  lamb."  To  sum  up,  the  analyst, 
in  a  paper  read  before  the  first  International  Refrigerating 
Congress  in  Paris  in  1008  said  :  "  In  a  series  of  quantitative 
cooking  trials  I  found  that  the  food  value  of  frozen  was 
not  less  than  that  of  fresh  meat." 

There  is  also  solid  material  at  hand  in  favour  of  frozen  meat 
in  the  highly  technical  paper  of  Mr.  W.  D.  Richardson,  chair* 
man  of  the  Chicago  Section  of  the  American  Chemical  Society, 
delivered  at  the  same  Congress,  on  the  subject  of  "  The  Cold 
Storage  of  Beef  and  Poultry."  This  essay  is  illustrated  by  a 
wealth  of  diagrams  from  photographs  of  meat  substances 
under  freezing  and  thawing  conditions.  Changes  in  flesh  foods 
under  cold  storage  were  the  problem,  and  the  chief  change 
investigated  was  bacterial  action.  Experiments  were  made 
on  fresh  and  frozen  beef  knuckle  ;  the  latter  was  observed  up 
to  554  days,  and  the  conclusion  the  scientist  came  to  was  that 
"  frozen  meat  from  93  to  554  days  old  is  in  the  same  condition 
bac  tonally  as  meat  from  freshly  slaughtered  animals."  This 
is  a  high  testimony  to  the  preserving  powers  of  refrigeration, 
though,  of  course,  the  cost  involved  in  prolonged  cold  storage 
would  of  itself  serve  to  ensure  that  the  public  meat  supplies 
are  never  submitted  to  such  lengthy  warehousing. 

Two  paragraphs  may  be  quoted  from  this  valuable  paper : — 

There  are  no  fact*  known  at  present  which  would  militate  against  the  porai- 
bilitj  of  flesh  preservation  for  an  indefinite  length  of  time  under  proper  condition* 
of  Mange.  Ottertag-Wilcox  (Handbook  of  Meat  Inspection,  p.  824)  says  :  "  Cold 
is  unquestionably  the  best  method  of  preserving  meat.  It  causes  no  alteration  in 
the  meat,  either  with  regard  to  taate  or  nutritive  value." 

In  conclusion,  cold  storage  appears  to  be  the  best  method  of  preservation  of 
flesh  foods  at  present  known  to  man,  inasmuch  as  it  modifies  to  a  less  extent  the 
appearance  and  quality  of  the  product  than  do  other  methods.  That  improvement* 
may  be  and  will  be  introduced  into  cold  storage  practice  must  be  admitted,  but 
that  in  principle  cold  storage  prevents  or  inhibits  to  a  large  extent  the  forces  of 
deterioration,  chemical  and  biochemical,  cannot  be  denied.  It  is  a  satisfactory, 
efficient  and  safe  means  of  preservation  of  flesh  foods  for  long  periods  of  time. 

Another  endorsement  of  the  fact  that  the  nutritive  matter 
is  identical  in  home  grown  and  frozen  mutton  has  been  made 


296     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

by  Professor  James  Long  in  the  record  of  the  results  of  a  test 
which  he  undertook  a  few  years  ago  at  the  request  of  the  War 
Office.  To  make  his  test  Professor  Long  took  thirty  legs  of 
wether  mutton,  Scotch,  English,  New  Zealand,  Argentine,  and 
Australian,  and  the  following  extract  may  be  made  from  his 
report : — 

If  we  make  a  general  comparison  between  the  home-grown  and  the  imported 
mutton  we  obtain  the  following  results,  which  represent  the  average  of  the 
fifteen  joints : — 

Home-grown  Mutton : 

Real  Nutritive  Matter 

Average  Weight  (Fat  and  Lean) 

per  joint.  Water  devoid  of  moisture. 

Ibs.  ozs.  Per  cent.  Per  cent. 

10     7  43-78  40-53 

Imported  Mutton  : 

8    8  46-17  39-37 

Practically  speaking,  the  real  nutritive  matter  present  in  each  lot  of  meat,  the 
home-grown  and  the  imported,  was  identical,  for  the  difference  was  but  slightly 
more  than  1  per  cent.  The  quantity  of  meat  in  its  moist  condition  was  actually 
higher  in  the  imported  than  in  the  home-grown  legs  of  mutton,  but  the  fat,  which 
counts  materially  owing  to  its  useful  feeding  properties,  told  in  favour  of  the 
British  meat,  although  a  large  proportion  is  invariably  wasted. 

These  favourable  verdicts,  from  persons  so  competent  to 
pass  them,  make  out  a  very  excellent  case  for  frozen  meat, 
well  worth  the  attention  of  the  British  public  and  the  peoples 
of  Continental  countries.  Indeed,  the  whole  of  this  volume, 
when  carefully  epitomized,  yields  testimony,  beyond  question, 
not  only  of  the  dietetic  value  of  the  supplies  of  frozen  and 
chilled  meat  which  arrive  at  the  ports  of  Great  Britain,  but 
also,  speaking  generally,  of  the  enormous  benefit  to  a  nation 
engaged  in  industrial  activities  which  these  supplies  confer,  in 
being  regular,  skilfully  handled,  cheap,  and,  as  to  quality  and 
soundness,  guaranteed  by  Government  veterinary  certificate  at 
the  country  of  production,  and  by  the  examination  of  the 
inspectors  of  the  Medical  Officers  of  Health  at  the  ports  of 
importation. 

Further  tests  made  by  English  and  foreign  scientists  of  the 
dietetic  value  of  frozen  meat  might  be  cited  in  this  chapter, 
and  additional  evidence  leading  to  a  favourable  conclusion  of 
the  frozen  meat  case  would  not  be  difficult  to  bring  forward. 
But  the  authors  think  that  enough  has  been  written,  bearing 


TIM:    nil  .ll. TICS  OF   ru«»/KN   MEAT 

in  mind  that  the  general  public  of  Great  Britain  have  voted 
for  frozen  meat  in  an  unmistakable  manner,  viz.,  by  con- 
suming 5,664,000  tons  of  frozen  mutton  and  beef  in  the 
thirty-one  yean  covered  by  the  duration  of  the  trade,  1880 
to  1910. 

The  Testimony  of  Medical  Officers  of  Health. 

The  reports  issued  by  the  Medical  Officers  of  Health  for 
tin  city  of  London  and  the  Port  of  London  (Dr.  W.  Colling- 
ridge  and  Dr.  Herbert  Williams)  teem  with  statements 
testifying  to  the  excellence  of  the  imported  frozen  meats. 

In  looking  through  the  Annual  Reports  of  these  Medical 
Officers  one  sees  numerous  references  to  the  fine  quality  of 
frozen  meat  passing  under  the  observation  of  their  officials. 
The  following  is  an  extract  from  Dr.  Williams'*  Annual 
Report  for  1906  :— 

"  The  arrangements  for  keeping  the  meat  at  a  low  temperature  bare  been  much 
improred,  and  it  is  only  occasionally,  when  some  defect  in  these  arrangement* 
occurs,  that  the  meat  on  examination  is  found  to  be  unsound.     The  bulk  of  the 
meat  arrives  in  first-class  condition,  as  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  only  4,279 
carcasses  of  mutton  and  844  quarters  of  beef  (out  of  a  total  of  8,799,892  csrcMSM 
1  .">  quarters)  have  been  found  unfit  for  food  during  the  year  as  a  result 
of  unsoundncfls,*  and  *»t  a  tingle  carctu*  Kan  bee*  $eizfd  on  account  of  ditto*. 
•  /.'.,  dam&g*  caoMd  by  accident*  during  tnuuit. 

The  Medical  Officers  of  Health  have  had  occasion  to  find  fault 
as  well  as  to  give  praise.  In  their  Reports  for  1910  and  P.H  1 
tin  Y  had  to  draw  attention  to  a  serious  blemish  in  Australian 
frozen  beef.  The  Commonwealth  Government  thereupon  took 
measures,  in  the  shape-  of  a  more  organized  inspection  system, 
to  meet  the  difficulty  and  remove  the  Medical  Officers'  cause 
of  complaint. 

The  fact  that  Tommy  Atkins  abroad  and  at  home  is  wholly 
or  in  part  fed  on  frozen  meat,  and  flourishes  on  the  diet,  is  an 
excellent  testimony  to  the  sound  quality  of  the  fare.  In  this 
•  •ction  it  should  be  mentioned  that  there  is  on  record  a 
statement  made  by  the  chief  of  the  United  States  Commissariat 
at  Manila  that  the  American  troops  in  the  Philippines  have 
found  the  Queensland  frozen  beef  of  first-class  quality,  suitable 
for  keeping  up  the  fighting  power  of  men.  And  he  ought  to 
know,  for  he  has  bought  a  lot  of  it !  As  for  the  general  utility 


238     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  frozen  meat  as  a  war  supply,  a  leading  witness  before  the 
Royal  Commission  on  the  South  African  War  said  of  cold 
storage  that  it  "  saved  South  Africa." 


The  Sound  Quality  of  Imports. 

Referring  to  the  position  of  frozen  meat  on  Smithfield 
Market,  a  well-known  figure  there  has  remarked  :  "  The  trade 
has  now  reached  such  a  point  that  it  is  really  difficult  to 
conceive  what  our  position  would  be  were  it  not  for  frozen 
meat."  The  same  suggestion  occurs  with  more  force  with 
regard  to  the  public.  What  would  happen  if  there  were  no 
frozen  and  chilled  meat  to  be  had  ?  The  benefits  of  refrigera- 
tion have  penetrated  into  all  the  conditions  of  life.  Travellers 
recollect  down  to  the  eighties  the  wretched  stock  and  miserable 
fowls  carried  on  board  steamers  to  supply  fresh  meat  for 
passengers.  Since  frozen  meat  came  along,  the  mail  steamer 
is  provisioned  as  easily  and  as  well  as  the  hotel. 

If  it  may  be  stated  that  the  vegetarian  restaurant  of  our 
towns — the  first  of  any  size  was  that  opened  in  Queen  Street, 
Cheapside,  London,  in  1882 — was,  broadly  speaking,  a  protest 
against  meat  scarcity  and  dearness,  it  may  also  be  said  that 
such  food  purveying  institutions  have  probably  been  robbed 
of  full  development  by  the  advent  of  cheap  frozen  meats. 
Though  vegetarianism  has  its  advocates,  there  is  undoubtedly 
a  consensus  of  scientific  opinion  that  a  generous  meat  diet 
is  necessary  for  the  hard  worker. 


CHAPTER  XXI 

WHAT  THE  TRADE  HAS  DOME  FOB  AUSTRALIA 

(Specially  Contributed  by  Air.  John  Cookt,  of  Australia.} 

IT  would  bo  freely  conceded  by  most  that  no  man  is  in  a 
r  position  to  say  what  the  frozen  meat  industry  has 
meant  to  Australia  than  Mr.  John  Cooke,  senior  partner  of  the 
firm  of  John  Cooke  and  Co.,  Australia.  Mr.  Cooke  has  contri- 
buted the  following  lines  concerning  the  part  which  the 
frozen  meat  trade  has  played  in  developing  the  resources  of 
Australia : 

"  Prior  to  the  introduction  of  refrigeration  in  the  preservation 
and  transport  of  fresh  meat,  the  only  methods  of  disposing 
of  the  surplus  sheep  and  cattle  produced  in  Australia  were  : — 

(a)  Preserving  and  packing  mutton  and  beef  in  cans  ; 

(6)  Boiling  down  the  carcasses  for  their  tallow. 

"  Neither  of  these  methods  offered  much  encouragement  to 

k   producers  to  increase  their  flocks  and  herds,  as  the 

returns  from  canned  meat  were  frequently  very  trifling,  while 

those  obtained  from  tallow  refining  were  small,  after  providing 

for  the  cost  of  manufacture,  casks,  etc. 

"  The-  values  ruling  for  sheep  almost  entirely  depended  on 
their  fleeces,  the  carcass  on  average  representing  very  little 
indeed  in  the  price.  In  the  same  way  the  value  of  any  bullock 
or  cow  outside  the  category  of  a  fat  beast  fit  for  local  consump- 
tion depended  entirely  on  the  hide  and  the  tallow  that  could 
be  extracted  through  the  digester.  There  was  accordingly 
little  to  stimulate  station  owners  to  improve  their  holdings 
or  increase  their  flocks  and  herds,  seeing  that  they  could  never 
reckon  on  getting  a  profitable  market  for  their  surplus  stock 
when  these  were  ready  for  market  or  when  they  wanted  to 
dispose  of  them.  Likely  enough  a  dry  spell  would  intervene 


300     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

when  they  were  overstocked,  and,  having  no  profitable  outlet 
whatever,  they  had  simply  to  look  on  while  their  stock  gradually 
disappeared.  These  conditions  made  stock-raising  in  Australia 
a  very  precarious  proposition,  and  greatly  retarded  that 
development  which  the  magnificent  lands  and  healthy  and 
genial  climatic  conditions  ought  to  have  brought  about. 
There  have  been  occasions  when  prices  for  sheep  were  so  low 
that  they  were  sold  by  the  score  instead  of  per  head. 

"  The  frozen  meat  export  trade  has  changed  all  that,  and 
has  proved  to  be  by  far  the  most  potent  factor  in  the  growth 
and  prosperity  of  Australia  during  the  past  twenty  years. 
The  waste  lands  of  the  Crown  have  not  only  been  rendered 
more  valuable  per  se,  but  lessees  have  been  encouraged  to 
expend  money  in  improvements,  thus  increasing  the  carrying 
capacity  of  their  runs,  and  converting  what  might  have  become 
rabbit  warrens  or  barren  plains  into  wool-  and  meat-producing 
properties.  All  owners  of  rural  land,  whether  of  100  or  100,000 
acres,  have  had  a  permanent  and  increasing  value  placed  upon 
their  holdings  owing  to  the  fact  that  the  stock  they  raised  has 
had  established  for  it  a  profitable  minimum  value.  Land- 
owners have  accordingly  been  enabled  to  improve  their  holdings 
by  fencing,  water  conservation,  and  cultivation,  and  further- 
more, they  have  felt  justified  in  spending  money  in  the  way  of 
introducing  improved  strains  of  blood  into  their  flocks  and 
herds. 

"  It  will  be  manifest  that  all  classes  of  live  stock,  whether 
stores  or  fats,  have  benefited  by  the  export  of  fat  carcass 
meat;  in  fact,  in  many  cases  prices  obtainable  for  store  sheep 
and  cattle  have  approximated,  and,  indeed,  occasionally  even 
equalled,  those  for  prime  slaughter  animals. 

"  The  long  and  terrible  drought  which  culminated  in  1902 
and  brought  the  total  sheep  stock  of  Australia  from  about 
ninety-eight  down  to  about  fifty-four  millions,  and  cattle  from 
about  twelve  down  to  seven  millions,  temporarily  checked 
the  export  of  frozen  meat,  and  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  point 
out  that  had  that  export  industry  not  been  maintained  and 
extended,  it  would  have  been  utterly  impossible  during  the  brief 
period  of  seven  years  to  have  restored  the  numbers  of  sheep 


\\  H  \T   I  Hi:  THADE  HAS  DONE  FOR  AUSTRALIA   901 

lose  upon  100,000,000  in  1910,  the  world's  high  water  mark 
istoral  activity.  No  more  striking  proof  is  needed  of  the 
enormous  advantages  accruing  to  Australia  from  this  industry, 
and  it  is  all  the  more  extraordinary  when  it  is  realized  that 
rabbits  and  other  scourges  have  been  prevalent  during  the 
last  decade. 

Lilian  woolgrowers  have  reason  to  be  very  thankful 
to  im-ut  i-xporU-rs  for  tlu>  scrurity  it  affords  thrm  to  know  that 
in  meeting  the  ever-increasing  demands  for  wool  they  possess 
two  strings  to  their  bow  instead  of  one.  Had  it  not  been  for 
the  enterprise  of  the  freezing  companies,  the  sheep  farmer 
would  hardly  have  dared  to  enlarge  his  flocks  so  materially, 
and  he  would  thus  have  missed  the  splendid  market  for  wool 
which  he  has  enjoyed  on  his  increased  output  for  several 
years  past. 

"  The  enormously  increased  employment  directly  arising 
from  this  trade,  to  station  hands,  butchers,  freezing  works 
labourers,  fellmongers,  tanners,  wharf  lumpers,  and  others, 
has  been  a  factor  of  much  importance  in  every  State  of 
Australia  ;  while  the  indirect  advantages  to  all  local  traders  and 
manufacturers  have  been  incalculable. 

"  The  Government  railways  have  reason  to  regard  refrigera- 
tion as  a  source  of  great  income  to  them,  the  transport  of  live 
stock  by  rail  having  enormously  developed  since  its  inception, 
while  the  carriage  of  frozen  meat  and  the  various  by-products 
has  also  produced  large  revenues  for  the  various  States.  No 
interest  has  realized,  and  benefited  by,  the  growth  of  this 
frozen  meat  trade  more  than  shipping,  and  one  has  only  to 
turn  to  the  expansion  in  the  number  and  size  of  ocean  steam- 
ships now  trading  with  Australian  ports  to  judge  of  the  vast 
impetus  that  has  accrued  thereby  to  Australian  production. 
A i i.l  t  he  cry  is  still  for  further  refrigerated  tonnage. 

4  The  phenomenal  increase  in  the  export  of  dairy  produce 
rind  fruit  would  not  have  occurred  but  for  the  facilities  for 
effective  transport  initiated  and  mainly  supported  by  the  meat 
trade,  and  m  this  sense  alone  the  amount  of  profitable  labour 
that  has  been  rendered  possible  can  hardly  be  overstated. 
Further,  while  the  exports  of  mutton  and  lamb  have  been 


302     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  mainstay  of  the  industry,  the  quantity  of  frozen  beef 
shipped  abroad  has  been  steadily  extending,  and  would  have 
been  much  greater  but  for  the  long  drought  that  ended  about 
seven  years  ago.  It  can  readily  be  understood  that  the 
restoration  of  herds  of  cattle  takes  a  much  longer  period  than 
the  recovery  of  flocks  of  sheep. 

"  The  commendable  schemes  of  immigration  now  being  so 
energetically  promoted  by  all  Australian  States  have  manifestly 
been  made  much  more  practicable  through  the  advertisement 
given  to  Australia  by  the  ever-increasing  distribution  of 
Australian  meat  through  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  United 
Kingdom. 

"  Other  localities  have  taken  their  part  in  the  trade,  notably 
South  Africa,  the  Philippine  Islands,  the  Mediterranean  ports, 
and  it  is  not  difficult  to  foresee  that  all  the  great  European 
countries — France,  Germany,  Austria,  etc. — must  follow  the 
examples  of  Italy  and  Switzerland,  and,  by  admitting  frozen 
meat  free  from  impossible  conditions  and  on  a  moderate  scale 
of  customs  duties,  enable  their  citizens  to  obtain  wholesome 
meat  at  prices  within  their  means." 


THK   Ul'.Ml      ll"\.    -ll:   .n.M:i'll    01 
\\  \l:l>.     I  .    .     l.l    i...     I-KI.MK     MIM-lK.li 
•  >K   M  u    n  \I.\M-.  }'.»»',     I'.'li'. 


ME.   IIKRBBKT  OIMOK. 

TMB   «  MMMIil    |..|:-    ..K    •  II  VITKK-*    XXI  .    \\M  .     VM-    \\lll. 

Ta/*t*  f.  30J. 


CHAPTER   XXH 
NEW  ZEALAND'S  GAIN  FROM  FROZEN  MEAT 

(Specially  Contributed  by  the  Right  Hon.  Sir  Joseph  Ward,  P.O.,  O.C.M.O., 
Prime  Afinitter  of  New  Zealand,  1906 — 1912.) 

THE  experiments  in  the  oversea  carriage  of  meat  in  a  frozen 
state  were  eagerly  watched  in  New  Zealand.  In  1880  the 
pastoral  interests  of  the  Colony  had  reached  a  crisis.  The 
flocks  and  herds  had  increased  to  numbers  which  provided 
meat  in  quantity  far  beyond  the  requirements  of  the  Colony, 
while  a  greater  revenue  than  that  which  was  derived  from 
wool,  tallow,  skins,  and  hides  was  required.  The  only  forms 
in  which  the  meat  could  be  exported  were  preserved  meat  and 
tallow,  and  the  market  for  the  former  was  glutted,  so  that  the 
boiling-down  for  the  tallow  was  the  only  outlet  for  the  surplus 
stock.  The  situation  was  intensified  by  the  decline  in  the 
price  of  wool  which  set  in  about  that  time,  and  by  several 
successive  harvests  being  damaged  by  bad  weather.  The 
problem  of  profitably  using  not  only  the  pastoral  but  also  the 
agricultural  lands  of  the  Colony  was  one  of  vital  importance, 
and  means  by  which  the  surplus  meat  would  be  given  a  reliable 
market  value  were  looked  to  as  the  only  hope  of  restoring  the 
agricultural  and  pastoral  industries  to  a  position  of  stability. 
When  reports  were  received  of  the  success  of  the  initial  frozen 
meat  shipments  from  Australia  to  London,  steps  were  at  once 
talmn  to  enter  into  the  new  trade  thus  opened.  Before  the 
close  of  the  year  1880  preliminary  action  had  been  taken  to 
form  companies  to  embark  in  the  refrigerating  industry  (the 
potentialities  of  which  in  regard  to  dairy  produce  as  well  as  to 
meat  were  recognized  later  on),  and  early  in  the  year  1882  the 
first  shipment  of  frozen  meat  was  despatched  from  New  Zealand 
to  London.  The  enterprise  was  crowned  with  success,  and 


304     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

quickly  every  pastoral  and  agricultural  district  in  the  Colony 
entered  into  the  trade,  which  has  expanded  to  a  volume 
exceeded  in  value  only  by  wool,  and  which  has  not  nearly 
reached  its  limits.  This  expansion  has,  no  doubt,  been  greatly 
assisted  by  the  popularity  which  New  Zealand  meat  has  gained 
owing  to  the  efficient  system  of  inspection  by  which  the  freedom 
from  disease  of  all  exported  meat  is  assured. 

From  the  beginning  in  1882  with  a  small  shipment,  slaugh- 
tered on  land  and  frozen  in  the  hold  of  the  carrying  ship  (a 
sailing  vessel),  the  trade  has  grown  by  1910  to  the  following 
dimensions  : — 

No.  of  meat  freezing  works  in  operation,  1911        31 

Daily  slaughtering  and  freezing  capacity  in  sheep  carcasses,  1911          82,000 
Cold  storage  capacity,  sheep  carcasses,  1911  ...     1,860,000 

EXPORTS,  1910  :— 

Tons. 

Mutton,  carcasses 1,997,633        ...        Weight  48,930 

„       legs  and  pieces  ...         ...  ...  „  2,587 

Lamb,  carcasses 3,515,001         ...  „  53,645 

Beef,  quarters       ...  26,926 


Total  meat „  132,088 

Babbits  (number)  3,138,888.  Total  value  (export),  £3,883,065. 

In  addition,  meat  preserving  is  an  adjunct  to  most  of  the 
meat  freezing  works,  and  adds  considerably  to  the  volume 
and  value  of  the  output. 

The  value  of  the  land,  buildings,  machinery,  and  plant 
employed  in  the  trade  is  approximately  £1,625,000 ;  the 
number  of  hands  employed,  3,250  ;  and  the  wages  paid  in 
the  year  1910,  £325,000. 

When  the  question  of  entering  upon  the  export  of  frozen 
meat  was  under  consideration,  it  was  held  that  if  Id.  per  Ib. 
net  could  be  realized  by  growers  for  their  mutton,  the  pros- 
perity of  the  pastoral  industry  would  be  assured  ;  the  average 
prices  actually  realized  have  generally  ranged  from  2%d.  to 
3d.  per  Ib.  for  mutton,  3£d.  to  4d.  for  lamb,  and  2d.  for  beef, 
besides  the  value  of  the  skins,  hides  and  fat. 

The  success  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  has  been  reflected  in 
the  rapid  progress  and  great  prosperity  of  the  Dominion. 
This  is  to  some  extent  shown  in  the  following  comparative 


NEW  ZEALAND'S  GAIN  FROM   FROZEN   MEAT    305 

official  figures,  though  the  progress  is  not  entirely  due  to  the 
frozen  meat  trade,  but  is  largely  contributed  to  by  the  kindred 
industry  of  dairying  : — 

Population      1880  484,864  1911  1,057,818 

Capital  Yalne  of  land  in  New  Zealand  1882  £101,000,000  1910  £277,830,088 

Land  in  cultivation,  area 1880  4,768,192  1908  15,679,943 

No.  of  cultivated  holdings „  24,147  1908  75,162 

Exports          „  £6,102,300  1910  £21,758,551 

No.  of  shoep  in  the  Dominion        ...  1881  12,985,085  1911  23.'. 

No.  of  cattle „  698,637  1911  2,020,171 

From  the  inception  of  the  trade  in  1882  to  December  31, 
1910,  there  were  exported  from  New  Zealand  71,000,000 
carcasses  of  mutton  and  lamb,  besides  millions  of  legs  of 
mutton,  notwithstanding  which  immense  drain  the  number  of 
sheep  in  the  Dominion  has  in  the  same  period  nearly  doubled. 

The  frozen  meat  trade  has  revolutionized  agriculture  in  New 
Zealand.  It  has  greatly  increased  the  value  of  land  and  has 
caused  the  adoption  of  improved  systems  of  farming  and  more 
thorough  cultivation,  though  the  capabilities  of  the  land  for 
production  have  not  yet  been  more  than  very  partially  exploited. 
The  imperfect  results  already  obtained  have  demonstrated 
that  New  Zealand  has  a  capability  of  production  surpassing, 
area  for  area,  that  of  any  other  country  in  the  world,  and 
requiring  only  population,  skill,  and  energy  to  develop  it.  The 
trade,  supplemented  by  dairying,  bore  the  chief  share  in  rescuing 
the  country  from  depression,  and  enabling  settlement  to  be 
promoted,  with  the  result  of  a  vast  increase  in  production  and 
also  in  the  national  wealth;  and  the  improvement  in  the  methods 
of  farming  has  restored  the  fertility  of  a  large  quantity  of  land 
which  had  been  exhausted  by  repeated  cropping,  and  has 
increased  the  fertility  of  large  areas  which  were  previously 
considered  to  be  not  worth  cultivating.  Above  all,  the  pastoral 
and  agricultural  industries  of  the  Dominion  have  never  before 
been  in  such  a  sound  position  as  at  the  present  time. 


P.M. 


CHAPTER  XXIII 
ARGENTINA'S  DEBT  TO  REFRIGERATION 

(Specially  Contributed  by  Mr.  Herbert  Gibson.) 

IT  is  not  easy,  even  for  those  whose  memory  carries  them 
back  a  generation  or  so,  to  step  out  from  the  throb  and  bustle 
of  the  great  Argentine  freezing  factories,  from  the  flocks  of 
comely  sheep  of  typical  breeds,  from  the  great  paddocks  in 
that  mighty  zone  of  twelve  million  acres  of  alfalfa  where  herd 
after  herd  of  sleek  Shorthorns  graze,  from  the  whole  panorama 
of  this  modern  pastoral  industry,  and  to  see  things  as  they  were 
when  in  1877  the  steamships  Frigorifique  and  Paraguay 
received  in  their  chilled  holds  the  first  consignment  of  River 
Plate  fresh  meat  to  be  conveyed  to  Europe. 

It  is  not,  after  all,  so  long  ago.  Men  who  still  like  to  believe 
themselves  young  can  talk  of  their  stockbreeding  experiences 
of  those  days.  Wire  fencing  had  scarcely  yet  come  into 
general  use  and  most  of  the  live  stock  was  herded  and  rounded 
up  in  open  country.  The  water  was  drawn  from  the  wells  in 
a  rude  sleeve  made  from  an  ox  hide.  The  thatch  and  wattle 
of  the  stockman's  hut  were  bound  with  raw  leather  thongs, 
and  often  as  not  a  horse-hide  did  service  for  a  door.  Cattle 
were  unimproved.  Here  and  there  progressive  breeders  such 
as  Juan  Fernandez,  Pereyra,  Lezama,  and  others,  had  intro- 
duced Shorthorn  blood  to  their  herds,  but  the  merits  of  English 
cattle  encountered  opposition.  Their  hides  were  too  thin,  and 
the  hide  on  the  ox's  back  constituted  in  those  days  half  its 
sale  value.  Their  flesh  was  too  deep  and  fat  to  take  the  salt 
properly,  and  salted  sun-dried  charqui  beef  was  the  sole  meat 
export.  They  wanted,  too,  more  feeding  than  the  hardy 
thick-skinned  Creole  bullocks.  So  breeders  would  have  none 
of  these  sleek  roan  and  red  English  beasts,  and  the  bulls  bred 
from  them  were  unsaleable  except  to  a  most  limited  circle  of 


\K(,I  \  -    ni'.HT   TO    IM.IKK, I  RATION      307 


stockmen.  The  great  majority  preferred  to  go  on  producing 
six-year-old  hide-bound  bullocks  sure  of  sale  to  the  saladero 
where  only  a  heavy  skin  and  a  good  salting  flesh  were  required. 

The  sheep,  with  few  exceptions,  were  merinos  of  varying 
grades  of  quality.  Some  breeders,  mostly  Englishmen,  had 
imported  Lincolns  to  their  flocks.  Their  carcasses  gave  a 
better  return  to  the  tallow  boilers.  Wool,  tallow,  and  skin 
\M  TO  all  that  sheep  were  there  for. 

Of  course,  those  were  the  good  old  days.  Every  middle-aged 
man  since  Adam  has  said  that.  But  the  concern  of  the  world 
is  more  with  the  welfare  of  the  community  than  the  joie  de 
vivre  of  the  individual.  If  that  welfare  is  to  be  gauged  by  the 
pastoral  wealth  and  revenue  of  the  Argentine  Republic  then 
and  now,  it  is  as  little  difficult  to  find  progress  as  to  find  the 
principal  cause  to  which  that  progress  is  due.  The  following 
brief  statement  establishes  the  former  : — 


Cattle  ... 

1877. 

1008. 

Numbers. 

Value. 

Numbers. 

Value. 

14,160,134 
59,226,300 

2,388,100 

£18,340,686 
17,898,740 

29,116,625 
67,211,754 

6,484,000 

£82,604,353 

1T..287,698 

Sheep  ... 

Total 
Exportation 

(1  IH'C 

of  animal  pro- 

£36,239,426 

£107,891.951 

£8,586,289 
25/6 

'23,691 
66/6 
7/6 

Official  valuation  per  cow    ... 
.1              ii          it    Hheep... 
Copulation      of     Argentine 

While  cattle  have  doubled  in  numbers  since  1877,  and  sheep 
have  increased  13  per  cent.,  their  total  local  value  has  increased 
threefold  ;  and  the  revenue  they  produce,  after  supplying  the 
local  requirements  of  a  population  nigh  three  times  as  great 
as  in  1877,  has  also  increased  threefold. 

Now,  this  has  not  been  brought  about  because  ox  hides  and 
beef  tallow  have  risen  in  value,  or  because  wool  and  sheep- 
skins and  mutton  tallow  have  risen  in  value.  The  augmentation 

x  2 


308     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

in  Argentina's  pastoral  wealth  and  revenue  is  due,  and  is 
wholly  and  solely  due,  to  the  applied  science  of  conveying 
overseas  in  a  frozen  or  chilled  condition  fresh  meat  for  European 
consumption.  The  improvement  in  the  quality  of  the  Argen- 
tine flocks  and  herds,  the  advancement  achieved  hi  pastoral 
methods  and  in  laying  down  alfalfa  and  other  permanent 
pastures,  have  been  in  response  to  the  demand  created  by  the 
refrigerated  meat  trade,  and  have  only  been  made  possible  by 
the  increased  revenue  that  trade  has  brought.  Progress  has 
been  attained,  of  course,  in  the  general  economy  of  the  stock 
farm.  In  1877  every  100,000  sheep  produced  158  tons  of  wool, 
and  in  1908  the  same  number  produced  248  tons  of  wool. 
Wool  still  constitutes  40  per  cent,  of  Argentina's  total  export 
of  animal  produce.  But  in  1877  the  total  value  of  meat  exports 
from  Argentina,  being  charqui  and  meat  extracts,  amounted  to 
£480,000  ;  and  in  1908  the  total  value  of  meat  exports,  being 
frozen  mutton  and  lamb,  frozen  and  chilled  beef,  preserved 
meat  charqui  and  meat  extracts,  amounted  to  £5,570,000.  To 
this  important  sum  charqui  contributed  £154,564 !  There  is, 
therefore,  sufficient  evidence  in  the  foregoing  to  justify  the 
conclusion  that  the  frozen  meat  trade  has  added  four-and-a- 
half  to  five  millions  sterling  per  annum  to  the  Argentine 
pastoral  industry.  Since  the  first  shipment  of  frozen  beef  in 
1877  the  cattle  stock  of  the  country  has  doubled  and  the 
pastoral  revenue  has  trebled,  and  the  difference  between  the 
ratio  of  progress  in  revenue  as  compared  to  that  in  numbers 
must  be  credited  to  the  business  of  refrigerating  meat. 

So  far  back  as  1867  patents  were  granted  by  the  Argentine 
Government  for  methods  of  preserving  meat.  Mysterious 
enough  some  of  them  were,  as,  for  example,  one  whose  sole 
ingredient  was  the  oil  of  grape  seeds.  Another  is  somewhat 
vaguely  described  as  "  an  application  of  heat  or  cold."  In 
October  of  1877  we  find  the  first  record  of  the  refrigerating  art. 
Mr.  C.  Tellier  obtains  a  patent  for  the  desiccation  of  meat  at 
a  temperature  of  zero  by  the  application  of  methylic  ether. 
Immediately  following  the  name  of  this  great  pioneer  in  the 
refrigerating  art  comes  another  patent,  granted  in  July,  1878, 
for  freezing  meat  by  means  of  sal  ammoniac  in  a  vessel  or 


ARGENTINA'S  DEBT  TO  REFRIGERATION      809 

chamber  with  a  temperature  below  zero.  There  is  no  need 
to  follow  the  records  further.  The  definition  of  the  art  of 
refrigerating  meat  had  arrived. 

lit  these  experimental  stages  the  cattle  were  slaughtered  at 
the  saladero  of  Don  Eugenio  Terrason,  and  the  meat  was  laden 
in  t  he  <  hilled  hold  of  the  steamers  at  the  mole-head  of  the  port 
of  San  Nicolas,  a  town  on  the  River  Parana,  between  Buenos 
Air.  s  and  Rosario.  Success  did  not  attend  these  first  ventures. 
The  oft-told  tale  of  the  difficulties  attending  the  crude  freezing 
of  beef  need  not  here  be  repeated.  Mr.  Terrason  constructed 
here  his  first  freezing  establishment  in  1884.  It  was  subse- 
quently rented  by  the  then  three  other  River  Plate  freezing 
companies  in  order  to  shut  it  down,  and  its  ruins  by  the  side 
of  the  old  landing  stage  of  San  Nicolas  are  a  monument  to  the 
disaster  that  awaits  the  first  pioneers  in  every  industry. 

In  1882  Messrs.  Drabble  founded  at  Cain  pan  a  the  River 
Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  and  a  year  later  near  Buenos  Aires 
and  on  the  banks  of  the  Riachuelo  Messrs.  Sansinena  and  Sons 
erected  what  became  at  once,  and  has  since  continued  to  be, 
the  most  successful  of  all  the  freezing  factories  in  the  Republic. 
In  1892  Messrs.  J.  Nelson  and  Sons  constructed  at  Zarate  their 
Las  Palmas  Produce  Co.  ;  and  ten  years  later,  following 
upon  the  closure  of  the  British  ports  to  Argentine  live  stock, 
and  the  spurt  given  to  the  meat  trade  by  affairs  in  South 
Africa,  there  arose  in  rapid  succession  the  four  more  freezing 
companies  that,  together  with  the  three  existing  previously, 
represent  the  total  trade  of  the  Republic  in  that  industry. 
Their  total  capital  amounts  to  £3,160,000,  and  they  employ 
over  7,000  men  in  the  works  and  yards. 

The  prominent  place  occupied  by  the  Argentine  in  the 
British  meat  trade  is  one  from  which  it  is  not  likely  to  be 
displaced.  Argentine  flockmasters  have  experienced  three 
years  of  drought,  and  the  drought  has  been  severest  in  the 
South  where  the  sheepbreeding  industry  is  still  the  predominant 
one.  The  effects  of  this  drought  will  be  most  in  evidence  in 
the  coming  year,  when  supplies  will  fall  short,  but  the  shortage 
will  not  remain  a  permanent  feature,  nor  is  local  consumption 
likely  to  overtake  production  in  the  visible  future.  Argentine 


310     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

breeders  are  giving  more  attention  to  the  lamb  trade,  and  new 
breeds  of  sheep  are  being  introduced  for  that  purpose. 

The  production  of  chilled  beef  will  further  expand.  It  is 
already  three  times  as  great  as  the  production  of  frozen  mutton, 
and  it  cannot  fail  to  increase,  for  all  three  factors,  the  breeder, 
the  freezer,  and  the  consumer,  are  profiting  by  it.  If  the  freezer 
has  encouraged  the  estanciero,  by  buying  his  steers  at  prices 
unheard  of  in  the  live-stock  export  days,  the  estanciero  has 
nobly  responded  to  the  call.  There  are  already  twelve  million 
acres  of  alfalfa  in  the  country  and  the  area  is  rapidly  increasing. 
England  has  been  drawn  upon  for  her  best  cattle  (and  has, 
incidentally,  profited  much  thereby),  and  large  sums  have  been 
expended  to  secure  good  blood.  There  are  over  50,000  pure 
pedigree  cattle  now  in  the  Argentine  Herd  Book.  In  the  rural 
census  of  last  year  more  than  half  of  the  total  number  of  cattle 
were  returned  as  improved,  that  is,  of  an  approximately  pure 
type  of  the  English  breeds,  and  principally  by  the  Shorthorn. 

There  is  abundant  land  both  for  breeding  and  feeding  more 
cattle.  It  is  sometimes  said  of  the  Argentine  that  agriculture 
is  displacing  cattle  breeding,  and  sometimes  the  reverse  is 
stated,  that  cattle  breeding  is  ousting  agriculture.  Neither 
statement  is  true.  They  are  component  factors,  sharing 
between  them  the  process  of  occupying  the  West  where  formerly 
neither  wheat  nor  alfalfa  grew,  but  where  a  thin  sprinkling  of 
Creole  cattle  eked  out  a  starving  existence  on  the  unwilling 
native  herbage.  Not  one-fifth  of  that  country  has  yet  been 
called  into  productivity  either  for  agriculture  or  cattle  raising. 
"  Visible  supplies  "  there  may  be,  but  the  limits  to  increasing 
those  supplies  are  not  yet  visible. 

With  the  necessary  material  beside  him,  the  land,  the  plough, 
the  herd,  and  the  willing  market  at  his  door,  it  would  indeed 
be  strange  if  the  Argentine  cattle  breeder  relaxed  his  energy 
and  cried  "  Enough  !  "  In  1877,  when  Don  Eugenic  Terrason 
shipped  the  first  frozen  beef  at  San  Nicolas,  a  prime  five-year- 
old  bullock  was  worth  to  him  in  his  saladero  £4.  This  is  what 
he  could  pay  to  turn  the  beast  into  charqui  and  tallow  and 
salted  ox  hide.  In  this  present  year  of  grace  the  freezing 
factories  have  been  paying  the  Argentine  breeders  £16  for 


\H(iI  NTINA'S  DEBT  TO  REFRIGERATION      311 

prime  three-year-old  bullocks.  If  in  doing  BO  the  freezers  have 
made  a  profit,  God  yield  them  well  of  it !  They  have  very 
materially  enhanced  the  value  of  Argentine  land  and  the  grass 
that  grows  on  it.  They  have  put  a  bridge  over  seven  thousand 
miles  of  ocean  and  brought  consumer  and  producer  within 
speaking  distance  of  one  another. 

The  United  States  with  local  demand  outstripping  their 
production  of  meat  have  already  resorted  to  the  River  Plate  to 
strengthen  their  supplies.  In  the  fulness  of  time  the  Argentine, 
too,  must  cease  to  export  meat.  Before  that  stage  is  reached, 
before,  indeed,  the  cattle  land  is  fully  occupied,  the  Argentine 
people  will  have  learnt  to  economize  in  their  own  consumption 
of  meat.  The  present  consumption  is  enormous  with  relation 
to  the  population.  It  is  probably  over  500,000  tons  of  meat 
per  annum,  or,  say,  200  Ibs.  per  capita.  Agriculture  is  still 
a  new  thing  in  the  Republic,  and  though  the  country  exports 
over  two  million  tons  of  wheat,  the  Argentines  have  not  yet 
become  great  bread  eaters.  Vegetables,  poultry,  and  other 
items  of  food,  are  insufficiently  produced.  The  Argentine 
cuisine  would  be  described  in  Europe  as  an  extravagant  one. 
All  this  must  change  ;  is  already  changing.  Since  the  freezing 
trade  has  made  the  storage  and  overseas  conveyance  of  fresh 
meat  possible,  foreign  and  local  prices  have  come  closer 
to  one  another.  The  days  are  long  since  past  when  beef  was 
sold  by  the  piece  and  mutton  by  the  carcass.  A  pound  of 
prime  steak  costs  as  much  in  Buenos  Aires  as  it  does  in  London. 
It  is  not  because  prime  beef  is  scarce,  it  is  because  the  British 
consumer  through  the  medium  of  the  freezer  buys  his  meat  in 
the  Argentine  market. 

But  though  the  Argentine  increases  its  production  and 
economizes  in  its  local  consumption  per  capita,  the  increase  of 
population  will  ultimately  overtake  the  former.  The  greater 
part  of  the  territory  of  the  Republic  is  good  agricultural  soil, 
capable  of  sustaining  a  dense  rural  population.  Progressing  as 
it  has  done  hitherto,  the  Argentine  will  have  a  population  of 
nearly  thirty  millions  by  the  middle  of  this  century.  By  that 
time  it  will  have  ceased  to  produce  meat  in  excess  of  its  own 
requirements,  and  it  will  have  commenced  to  draw  on  Paraguay 


SI  2     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

and  southern  Brazil  for  its  supplies.  But  there  is  no  particular 
occasion  to  discount  so  remote  a  future.  Suffice  it  that  in 
the  meantime  there  is  yet  abundant  room  southwards,  as  far 
as  the  Straits  of  Magellan,  for  the  country's  flocks  to  multiply  ; 
sufficient  room  in  the  farther  west,  in  her  northern  territories 
and  beyond  their  boundaries,  in  the  rich  pasture  lands  of  the 
Paraguayan  Chaco,  and  in  the  great  cattle  country  of  southern 
Brazil,  to  breed  far  more  cattle  than  at  present  exist ;  and 
sufficient  room  in  the  core  of  the  country  to  graze  on  the  alfalfa 
lands  and  to  grow  on  the  wheat  lands  enough  beef  and  enough 
corn  to  supply,  even  beyond  the  lives  of  the  young  generation, 
the  demand  of  her  foreign  markets. 

No  doubt,  too,  there  will  still  be  then  gentlemen  who  write 
articles.  They  will  tell  kindly  of  the  good  old  days  when, 
upon  what  have  become  the  homesteads  of  the  small  farmer, 
there  were  paddocks  of  alfalfa  each  of  which  ran  into  thousands 
of  acres  ;  how  in  these  paddocks  there  grazed  herds  of  Short- 
horn cattle  to  supply  the  export  trade  of  chilled  beef  which  at 
that  time  was  one  of  the  most  important  industries  of  the 
Republic  ;  and  how,  even  as  in  pre-historic  times  Don 
Eugenio  Terrason  loaded  fresh  beef  in  the  chilled  holds  of 
steamers  at  the  mole-head  of  San  Nicolas,  there  were  men  who 
foresaw  and  worked  for  a  new  order  of  things  in  rural  economy, 
and  how  sometimes  the  failure  of  the  individual  showed  the 
way  to  the  success  of  the  collectivity.  Forsitan  et  nostrum 
nomen  miscebitur  istis. 


CHAPTER  XXIV 

HOW  THE   BRITISH   PUBLIC  HAS  BENEFITED 

WHEN  the  mutual  relations  that  exist  between  the  great 
frozen  meat  industry  and  the  many  classes  of  traders  engaged 
in  its  maintenance  have  been  considered,  there  yet  remains  to 
be  surveyed  the  effect  of  the  trade  upon  the  one  great  class 
on  whose  behalf  it  had  its  inception  and  upon  whose  custom 
its  future  rests.  The  public,  and  pre-eminently  the  British 
public,  stands  after  all  to  gain  most  from  the  frozen  meat 
trade,  that  is,  if  the  8,283,000  tons  of  frozen  and  chilled 
meat  imported  into  the  British  Isles  from  1874  to  1910  have 
advanced  the  physical  welfare  of  the  nation. 

How  has  the  community  been  affected  ?  The  opening 
chapter  of  this  book  dealt  with  the  crisis  of  meat  scarcity  which 
culminated  in  the  seventies,  and  the  efforts  of  scientific  men 
to  meet  it.  A  survey  of  ancient  and  modern  history  shows 
that  nations  eat  meat  according  to  their  wealth,  if  this  be  not 
stating  cause  for  effect.  Conversely,  John  Bull  without  his  roast 
beef  would  have  made  but  a  poor  show  during  the  last  thirty 
years.  He  became  unable  to  provide  sufficient  meat  for  himself 
when  he  became  a  manufacturer,  and  so  it  has  come  about  that 
Britain  in  the  Southern  Seas  and  the  Americas  have  had  to 
turn  wholesale  meat  suppliers  for  his  benefit.  The  United 
States  of  America  have  furnished  the  expensive  joints  of  beef 
for  the  tables  of  the  well-to-do,  and,  not  without  refrigeration's 
aid,  Australia,  New  Zealand,  and  Argentina  did  more  than 
that.  They  have  provided  the  meat  food  required  by  the 
great  body  of  workers  in  city  and  town.  The  manufacturers 
upon  whom  the  wealth  and  industrial  fame  of  England  and 
Scotland  rest  owe  an  enormous  debt  of  gratitude  to  the 
pioneers  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  by  whose  efforts  their  work- 
people have  been  able  to  get  plenty  of  sound  and  cheap  meat. 
When  frozen  meat  was  first  introduced,  there  was  great  scarcity 


314     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  fresh  meat  at  reasonable  prices  in  Lancashire  and  Yorkshire 
and  in  the  cotton  districts  generally.  It  was  frequently  a 
matter  of  meat  once  a  week  ;  now  it  is  meat  twice  a  day. 
The  question  remains,  could  the  strain  of  modern  industry 
be  borne  on  the  former  allowance  ?  Taking  the  beginning 
of  the  industrial  era  in  the  United  Kingdom  as  coincident 
with  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  following 
figures,  supplied  by  Mulhall,*  of  the  average  price  of  "meat  " 
— beef,  mutton,  and  pork — for  the  quinquennia  mentioned 
show  clearly  how  prices  rose  as  population  increased,  and  as 
fresh  meat  became  a  more  recognized  article  of  diet : — 
1851—1855,  6fd.  perlb. ;  1856—1860,  6fd. ;  1861—1865,  6fd.  ; 
1866—1870,  l^d.  ;  1871—1875,  8fd.  ;  1876—1881,  8|d. 

Now  even  in  the  rural  districts  the  peripatetic  meat  man 
has  his  beat,  districts  which  fifty  years  ago  furnished  nothing 
better  to  the  agricultural  population  than  a  bread  and  cheese 
diet,  with  bacon  as  a  luxury,  and  an  occasional  joint  of 
butcher's  meat  to  mark  a  red  letter  day.  Then  take  the 
position  of  the  professional  and  middle  classes.  When  English 
and  Scotch  meat  would  not  go  round,  what  a  struggle  was 
that  of  people  with  small  incomes  and  large  families  (a  not 
uncommon  association  thirty  and  forty  years  ago)  in  battling 
with  their  butchers ! 

The  position  at  the  beginning  of  the  eighties  was  indeed 
serious,  with  the  English  meat  crop  equal  to  the  supply  for  no 
more  than  seven-and-a-half  months  of  the  year.  The  statistical 
writers  of  the  period  were  keenly  concerned  in  the  problem. 
Mulhall,  after  the  success  of  the  Dunedin  shipment  was  assured, 
pointed  out  in  his  pamphlet,  referred  to  above,  that  the  farms 
of  Otago  and  Canterbury  could  send  sheep  to  the  London 
market  more  easily  than  could  the  Tweed  farmers  100  years 
ago  (1782),  when  meat  was  selling  at  Id.  per  Ib.  in  Scotland  and 
IQd.  in  London.  When  statisticians  forsake  the  past  and 
present  for  the  future,  even  a  Mulhall  may  make  mistakes ; 
here  is  an  extract  from  the  pamphlet :  "  We  may  expect  in 
1896  a  population  of  42  to  43  millions,  and  to  feed  our  people 

*  England's  New  Sheep  Farm  ;  pamphlet,  published  in  1882. 


HOW  THE  BHITMI    1M  HLIC   HAS  BENEFITED    315 

tOr  tive  months  in  the  year  we  shall  then  import  over  1,000,000 
tons  of  meat,  the  bulk  of  which  must  necessarily  come  from 
the  Australasian  Colonies " !  In  1896  the  population  was 
39}  millions  ;  only  485,000  tons  of  mutton  and  beef  (including 
live  cattle)  were  imported,  and  out  of  the  87*3  Ibs.  of  beef  and 
mutton  consumed  per  head  of  population,  59*9  Ibs.  were 
produced— equal  to  eight  months'  supply — by  home  farmers, 
and  five-sixths  of  the  imports  came  from  the  United  States. 
Mr.  Mulhall  also  wrote  :  "  Twenty  years  hence  New  Zealand 
will  have  more  sheep  than  Great  Britain  "  ;  the  flocks  of  the 
Dominion  in  1902  were  about  20i  millions  against  25£  millions 
in  Great  Britain. 

Popularizing  Frozen  Meat. 

A  notable  event  in  the  campaign  to  establish  the  frozen 
mutton  trade  from  New  Zealand  occurred  in  1891,  when  the  late 
Earl  of  Onslow,  then  Governor  of  the  Colony,  did  much  good 
by  despatching  six  prime  Canterbury  wether  sheep  to  certain 
gentlemen  in  London  for  their  report.  Lord  Onslow's  desire 
was  to  find  out  if  the  difference  in  price  of  English  and  New 
Zealand  frozen  mutton  could  be  accounted  for  by  a  relative 
difference  in  the  quality  of  the  two  kinds,  and  the  experiment 
was  an  excellent  advertisement  for  New  Zealand  mutton. 
Lord  Onslow,  by  request,  himself  described  this  interesting 
experiment.  His  words,  written  especially  for  these  pages, 
are  as  follow  : — 

"  So  far  as  my  records  go,  it  was  in  the  year  1891  that  I 
sent  some  carcasses  of  sheep,  which  had  been  especially  selected 
by  Mr.  John  Grigg  and  Sir  John  Hall,  as  four-  and  five-year-old 
cross  between  merino  and  Down,  to  Messrs.  Fitter,  with  injunc- 
tions to  specially  thaw  and  deliver  them  to  certain  gentlemen 
whom  I  knew  I  could  rely  upon  to  give  me  an  unbiassed 
expression  of  opinion  as  to  their  fitness  for  the  table.  Those 
were  the  late  Baron  Henry  de  Worms,  afterwards  Lord  Pir- 
bright,  Lord  Rosebery,  the  late  Sir  Augustus  Harris,  then 
Sheriff  of  London  and  manager  of  Drury  Lane  Theatre,  who 
used  to  entertain  very  largely  at  the  theatre  aftor  the 
performances,  the  late  Sir  Henry  de  Bathe,  who  was  chairman 


316    A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  the  House  Committee  of  the  Beefsteak  Club,  the  late  Sir 
Morell  Mackenzie,  and  M.  Waddington,  the  French  Ambassador 
in  London.  The  other  members  of  the  Beefsteak  Club  who 
reported  upon  the  mutton  were  Mr.  Corney  Grain,  Sir  Francis 
Burnand,  Sir  Squire  Bancroft,  and  Mr.  George  Augustus 
Sala.  All  of  them  reported  very  favourably  on  the  experiment, 
and  I  believe  those  interested  in  the  trade  in  New  Zealand 
made  use  of  the  reports  for  the  purpose  of  recommending  New 
Zealand  meat." 

All  these  connoisseurs  pronounced  in  most  enthusiastic 
terms  on  the  mutton's  merits.  Baron  de  Worms  reported  : 
"  The  freezing  did  not  hurt  it  in  the  least,  in  fact,  the  greatest 
epicure  would  fail  to  discover  that  it  was  not  home-grown." 
General  Sir  H.  de  Bathe  went  further  in  saying  that  the  mutton 
was  "  better  than  what  I  can  buy  at  Chichester  "  !  By  the  way, 
North  Canterbury  four-  or  five-year-old  wether  mutton  is  never 
seen  at  Smithfield  nowadays.  The  difficulty  in  placing  frozen 
meat  on  the  footing  in  England  which  it  deserves  has  not  been 
with  the  "  classes  "  nor  with  the  "  masses,"  but  with  the  great 
and  all-important  section  of  the  community,  the  middle 
classes,  who  are,  unfortunately,  to  a  great  extent,  despotically 
ruled  by  convention  and  prejudice. 

The  consumption  of  meat,  including  pork  products,  in 
Australia  is  put  at  233  Ibs.  per  head  of  the  population,  in  the 
United  States  at  144  Ibs.,  and  in  the  United  Kingdom  at 
122  Ibs.  Refrigerated  meat  accounts  for  22  per  cent,  of  this 
122  Ibs.,  say,  27  Ibs.  per  head,  and  in  a  paper  read  by  Mr.  P.  B. 
Proctor  at  the  first  Refrigeration  Congress  held  in  Paris  in 
1908,  the  remark  was  made  that  these  27  Ibs.  of  refrigerated 
meat  per  head  did  not  displace  other  meats  previously  con- 
sumed, but  represented  an  additional  supply.  Could  there  be 
better  evidence  of  the  boon  to  the  community  as  a  whole 
through  the  introduction  of  frozen  and  chilled  meats  ? 

It  has  been  possible  for  the  British  public  to  increase  their 
consumption  of  meat  in  thirty  years  to  the  extent  mentioned 
above  owing  to  the  low  price  at  which  frozen  meat  has  been 
sold.  The  low  price  does  not  imply  any  inferiority  whatever 
(the  idea — if  anyone  holds  it — that  refrigeration  has  brought 


HOW  THE   BRITISH   PUBLIC  HAS  BENEFITED    817 

about  any  deterioration  in  the  quality  of  meat  consumed  in 
this  country  must  be  dismissed) ;  it  simply  indicates  low  coat 
of  production  in  the  country  of  origin.  In  cheapening  the 
iiii tcher's  bill  by  25  to  50  per  cent.,  surely  the  fanner  in 
Australasia  and  Argentina  has  conferred  upon  the  English 
householder  a  boon  of  incalculable  magnitude  1  The  house- 
holder when  he  puts  on  his  considering  cap  will  perceive 
another  point,  viz.,  that  had  it  not  been  for  the  advent  of 
frozen  and  chilled  meat,  home-produced  beef  and  mutton, 
not  being  able  to  keep  pace  with  the  population,  must 
inevitably  have  been  forced  up  to  a  prohibitive  price. 

The  present  generation  obviously  does  not  realize  what 
frozen  meat  has  done  for  them  ;  the  value  of  a  great  movement 
is  never  properly  appreciated  except  in  the  perspective  of  after 
years.  A  new  race  has  arisen  since  the  days,  over  a  century 
ago,  when  it  was  necessary  to  put  a  clause  in  the  articles  of  the 
London  apprentice  binding  the  employer  only  to  provide 
salmon  so  many  days  a  week,  and  since  the  later  days  when  it 
was  the  ideal  of  happiness  of  the  Dorsetshire  ploughboy 
to  "  swing  on  a  gate  all  day  long  and  eat  fat  bacon."  Now 
the  apprentice,  were  he  here,  could  batten  on  beef  steak  from 
Queensland  and  Argentina,  and  the  ploughboy,  as  it  is,  no 
doubt,  revels  in  his  succulent  New  Zealand  chop. 

In  London,  the  biggest  city  in  the  world,  and  the  centre  of 
the  largest  Empire,  refrigerated  meat  has  its  chief  triumph, 
for  the  metropolis  is  mainly  fed  with  meat  from  overseas.  A 
certain  proportion  of  English  and  Scotch  meat  certainly  is 
consumed  in  London,  but  the  West-end  folk  are  very  large 
customers  for  chilled  beef  of  the  highest  quality  and  the  best 
grades  of  New  Zealand  sheep  and  lambs.  The  huge  population 
of  London's  suburbs  absorbs  great  quantities  of  the  frozen 
meat  which  arrives  from  all  three  sources,  New  Zealand, 
Argentina,  and  Australia. 

Frozen  Meat  for  Tommy  Atkins. 
One  good  thing  frozen  meat  has  done  for  the  British  public 
is  to  ensure  a  bountiful    and  economical  diet   system   for 
Tommy  Atkins.    The  meat  issued  to  the  troops  at  the  home 


318     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

stations  in  the  British  Isles  is  beef  six  days  a  week  and  mutton 
one  day  ;  the  daily  ration  for  a  soldier  is  f  Ib.  in  barracks  and 
1  Ib.  in  camp.  The  beef  on  four  days  must  be  home-fed  or 
"  town-killed,"  and  on  the  other  two  days  frozen  beef  may  be 
used.  The  mutton  issued  on  the  one  day  may  be  frozen.  So 
the  British  Army  is  fed  on  frozen  meat  for  three-sevenths  of 
the  year :  could  there  be  a  better  evidence  of  its  sustaining 
power  ?  For  many  years  the  Army  commissariat  stuck  out 
against  the  use  of  frozen  beef,  using  chilled  American 
instead,  and  the  change  made  some  years  ago  in  favour  of 
frozen  is  a  welcome  sign  of  the  officials'  conversion  to  reform  and 
retrenchment.  The  War  Office  is  a  keen  buyer  ;  wether  mutton 
from  50  to  70  Ibs.  only  is  accepted,  beef  must  be  170  to  200  Ibs. 
per  quarter,  and  beef  and  mutton  must  have  the  original  labels 
attached.  Tommy  Atkins  wants  beef  all  the  time,  but  for  his 
well-being  the  doctors  modify  this  stimulating  diet  with  one 
day  of  mutton.  It  was  about  1902  that  the  War  Office  took  the 
step  of  insisting  that  only  home-bred  and/or  "  Colonial "  meat 
be  supplied  to  the  troops  in  the  United  Kingdom.  This 
measure  of  preference  to  British  produce,  absolutely  prohibiting 
the  use  of  American  and  Argentine  beef  and  mutton,  came 
about  through  the  influence  of  Mr.  Joseph  Chamberlain,  then 
Colonial  Secretary.  The  principle  enunciated  by  this  policy  was 
so  startling  and  revolutionary  that  many  persons  have  wondered 
how  it  escaped  the  notice  of  Mr.  Chamberlain's  political 
opponents.  Argentina  suffered  some  inconvenience  in  con- 
sequence, and  New  Zealand  ewe  mutton  jumped  into  favour 
with  contractors.  The  supplying  of  ewe  mutton  from  New 
Zealand  spoiled  the  colonial  contract  trade.  Argentina  then 
shipped  nothing  but  wethers  and  gave  more  satisfaction. 
Because  Australasia  was  unable  to  supply  the  quantity 
required,  hi  1906  this  contract  clause  became  a  dead  letter. 
Since  then  sundry  members  of  the  House  of  Commons  have 
from  the  Opposition  benches  inveighed  against  this  letting  in 
of  the  "foreigner,"  but  owing  to  the  irregular  arrival  of 
supplies  from  our  own  overseas  Dominions  the  Government 
has  remained  under  the  necessity  of  maintaining  the  policy 
of  the  open  door  in  Army  frozen  meat  contracts. 


HOW    III!     IWITISH   PUBLIC   HAS   BENEFITED    819 

The  contractor  is  a  patron  of  the  frozen  meat  trade  to  some 
purpose.  He  supplies  frozen  meat  in  considerable  bulk  to 
unions,  asylums,  and  other  institutions  in  England,  and  some 
Sinithfield  traders  make  a  speciality  of  catering  for  this 
trade,  the  profits  in  which,  probably,  are  quite  moderate.  A 
saving  of  £1,000  a  year  is  easily  effected  in  the  expenditure  of 
one  of  these  public  institutions  by  substituting  frozen  for  home- 
produced  meat.  It  is  amusing  to  note  the  protests  of  the 
inmates  when  such  a  step  is  taken  ;  what  is  good  enough  for 
Peers  and  the  Beef  Steak  Club  will  not  do  for  the  paupers,  or 
can  it  be  that  the  grumble  of  old-fashioned  prejudice  is  aroused 
by  "  officious  "  guardians  ? 


CHAPTER    XXV 

THE   POSITION   OP  THE   BRITISH  FARMER 

SEEING  that  the  refrigerated  meat  industry  in  its  forward 
movement  naturally  brings  under  discussion  the  question  of 
home  supplies,  it  is  not  out  of  place  here  to  make  a  brief 
examination  of  the  position  of  the  English  and  Scotch  grazier 
and  sheep  farmer  in  regard  to  the  importation  of  frozen  meats. 
In  one  sense  the  home  producer  has  obviously  been  injured, 
because  the  imports  of  meat  must  tend  to  keep  prices  at  a 
lower  level  than  they  would  be  if  home  supplies  were  alone 
available.  But  as  the  latter  eventuality  is  out  of  the  question, 
as  far  as  England  is  concerned,  one  may  at  once  turn  to  the 
real  issue  and  consider  whether  the  imports  of  meat  have  been 
of  such  magnitude  and  character  as  seriously  to  injure  the 
British  farmer  or  to  make  his  operations  altogether  unremunera- 
tive. 

The  authors  have  consulted  several  gentlemen  who  are 
acknowledged  authorities  on  this  question.  Mr.  R.  E.  Turnbull, 
F.R.S.S.,  has  been  kind  enough  to  work  out  a  comparison 
between  the  years  1880  and  1910  as  to  the  supplies  of  meat 
available  for  consumption. 

1880    Compared   with    1910. 

1880. 
Population  of  the  United  Kingdom,  34,772,000. 

Supply  of  home-fed  stock  : — 

Dressed  weight 
Tons. 

2,580,000  fat  cattle  and  veal  calves          468,700 

10,860,000  sheep  and  lambs 300,800 

4,800,000  pigs  for  pork  and  bacon 288,000 

18,210,000  Home  supply        1,057,500 

Imports      528,500 

Total  supply  of  dressed  meat 1,586,000 


TIN-:  POSITION  OF  TIII.  iiitrnsii   r.\mn  K 


Home  supply  66|  per  cent.,  foreign  and  colonial  33|  per  cent. 
Per  head  of  population,  102  Ibs.,  viz.,  home  supply  68  Ibs., 
imported  34  Ibs.  Average  price  of  home-fed  cattle  (offal  given 
in)  about  lid.  per  lb.,  and  of  sheep  about  9J</. 

The  three  yean  1879,  1880,  and  1881,  were  the  most  disas- 
trous for  owners  of  sheep  in  this  country  that  any  farmer  now 
living  ever  experienced. 

The  total  number  of  sheep  and  lambs  in  the  United  Kingdom 
in  June,  1879,  was  32,238,000  ;  in  June,  1882,  the  number  was 
only  27,448,000  or  4,790,000  (14'85  per  cent.)  less  than  in 
1879.  Liver  fluke  was  the  malady  that  caused  the  loss.  The 
harvest  of  1879  was  gathered  in  wretched  condition,  the  rain- 
fall occurring  during  harvest  and  being  very  excessive. 

1910. 

Population  of  the  United  Kingdom,  44,850,000. 
Supply  of  home-fed  stock  : — 


DretMd  weight 


3,226,000  fat  cattle  and  veal  calves 
12,622,000  fat  sheep  and  lambs 
5,098,000  fat  pigs      


613,000 
351,600 
305,900 


20,946,000  Home  supply 

Imported  meat  and  meat  from  imported  stock  : — 

Beef  and  veal          

Mutton  and  lamb 

Pork,  bacon  and  hams       

Dnenumerated        


1,170,800 


Tons. 
446,500 
277,800 
164,800 

16,800 


Imports  

Total  supply  of  dressed  meat 


1,034,600 
1,808,100 


Home  supply,  66 }  per  cent.,  foreign  and  colonial,  44£  per 
cent.  Per  head  of  population,  114  Ibs.,  viz.,  home  supply, 
63  Ibs.,  imported,  51  Ibs. 

In  1910  the  total  supply  of  meat  (beef,  veal,  mutton,  lamb, 
pork,  bacon,  and  hams)  exceeded  the  supply  in  1880  by 
14,382,000  cwts.,  or  by  rather  more  than  45  per  cent.  The 
increase  in  population  was  10,078,000  (assuming  that  in  1910 
the  population  was  44,850,000)  =  28*8  per  cent.  The  increase 
in  the  supply  of  home-fed  meat  was  4, 260,000  cwts.,  or  20*1  per 
cent. ;  in  foreign  and  colonial  the  increase  in  the  supply  was 

P.M.  Y 


322     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

remarkable,  being  10,122,000  cwts.  =  95'76  per  cent.  In  1910 
the  supply  of  meat  per  head  of  population  was  12  Ibs.  more 
than  in  1880,  being  114  Ibs.  as  compared  with  about  102  in 
1880.  (Of  the  total  supply  about  20,000  tons  were  exported.) 

In  1910  home-fed  cattle  averaged  about  \\d.  per  Ib.  less  than 
in  1880,  and  sheep  2d.  per  Ib.  less  than  in  1880. 

Mr.  Turnbull  concludes  his  statistical  survey  as  follows  : — 
"  While  the  large  and  increasing  supply  of  meat  from  abroad 
has  pressed  heavily  on  the  farmers  and  landowners  of  the 
United  Kingdom,  the  severe  competition  that  breeders  of  cattle, 
sheep,  and  pigs,  have  been  subjected  to  has  undoubtedly 
resulted  in  a  marked  improvement  in  the  quality  of  herds  and 
flocks  on  nearly  every  estate  in  the  kingdom.  With  regard  to 
sheep,  the  number  of  sheep  and  lambs  marketed  in  twelve 
months  now  equals  about  40  per  cent,  of  the  number  in  the 
returns.  During  the  ten  years  1870 — 79  the  number  marketed 
only  equalled  on  the  average  about  35  per  cent.  The  quantity 
of  mutton  and  lamb  now  marketed  equals  about  25  Ibs.  for 
each  animal  in  the  returns  ;  in  the  earlier  period  the  aver- 
age was  about  22  Ibs.  By  securing  earlier  maturity  and 
marked  improvement  in  quality  the  home  breeders  have  till 
quite  recently  held  their  own  in  face  of  increasing  foreign 
competition. 

"  Some  of  the  British  breeds  of  sheep  are  now  too  heavy  for 
the  family  requirements  of  the  consumer.  This  is  notably 
the  case  as  regards  the  famous  Lincoln  and  Leicester  breeds. 
The  joints  of  mutton  cut  from  sheep  of  these  breeds  are  too 
large  for  ordinary  household  use.  (There  is  still  a  good  demand 
for  large  joints  for  restaurants.)  The  demand  is  now  almost 
entirely  for  joints  cut  from  sheep  of  small  or  medium  weights, 
60  to  70  Ibs.  The  Down  breeds  meet  this  demand  admirably. 
The  Lincoln  and  Leicester  breeds  thrive  better  than  any  other 
in  the  districts  where  they  are  bred,  and  having  regard  to  their 
abundant  production  of  wool  they  are  not  likely  to  be  replaced 
by  other  breeds.  With  regard  to  cattle,  the  quantity  of  beef 
and  veal  marketed  in  twelve  months  now  equals  about 
116^  Ibs.  for  each  animal  in  the  returns.  In  the  twenty  years 
that  followed  1870  the  average  was  only  about  105  Ibs.  The 


THE   POSITION  OF  THE  BRITISH   FARMER     8*3 

improvement  is  much  lees  marked  than  in  the  case  of  sheep. 
During  the  last  forty  yean  a  greater  general  improvement  has 
taken  place  in  the  quality  of  Irish  and  Scotch  cattle  than  in 
English  cattle. 

"  The  number  of  fat  cattle  and  veal  calves  now  marketed  in 
twelve  months  equals  about  27£  per  cent,  of  the  number  in  the 
returns,  as  compared  with  22}  per  cent,  in  the  earlier  period. 
The  total  supply  now  includes  a  larger  proportion  of  veal  calves 
than  formerly.  The  proportion  of  well-fattened  calves  is  much 
leu  than  was  formerly  the  case ;  this  is  owing  to  the  greatly 
increased  demand  for  new  milk  for  household  consumption. 

"  The  number  of  pigs  marketed  in  twelve  months  equals  over 
140  per  cent,  of  the  number  in  the  returns.  The  production  of 
pork,  bacon,  and  hams,  equals  about  190  Ibs.  for  each  animal  in 
the  returns. 

"  The  live  stock  industry  of  the  United  Kingdom  in  the  face 
of  strong  competition  from  abroad  is  still  fairly  remunerative, 
except  in  seasons  of  drought  or  when  the  general  trade  of  the 
country  is  severely  depressed,  and  this  will  probably  continue  to 
be  the  case  even  should  the  foreign  and  colonial  supply  of  meat 
continue  to  be  as  large  as  it  now  is. 

"  To  the  wage-earning  classes  the  abundant  supply  of  im- 
ported meat  has  proved  to  be  a  great  boon.  I  am  of  opinion  that 
the  consumer  has  laroely  benefited  by  the  exportation  of  well- 
bred  cattle  and  sheep  to  other  countries,  because  this  has 
resulted  in  an  abundant  supply  of  meat  of  fairly  good  quality, 
and  also  a  considerable  supply  of  excellent  quality.  The 
number  of  emr  farmers  who  have  benefited  has  certainly  not 
been  large,  only  breeders  of  pedigree  stock  have  benefited, 
the  rest — a  large  majority — have  suffered  very  severely." 

A  University  Professor's  Opinion. — Professor  Robert  Wallace, 
of  the  University  of  Edinburgh,  on  being  asked  for  his  views, 
sent  the  following  lines  : — 

"  With  reference  to  the  position  of  the  British  farmer  in 
relation  to  the  enormous  increase  in  the  imports  of  frozen 
meat  from  abroad,  I  am  convinced  that  he  would  have  been 
ruined  but  for  the  increased  annual  supply  of  gold  which 
prevented  prices  falling  as  they  would  have  done  had  the 

Y  2 


324     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

quantity  theory  of  money  not  come  to  his  assistance.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  increased  supply  of  meat  from  abroad  has 
been  a  blessing  in  disguise  to  the  farmer  as  well  as  to  the 
consumer,  for  without  the  foreign  competition,  which  the 
farmer  has,  I  think,  on  the  whole,  very  successfully  withstood, 
prices  of  butchers'  meat  would  have  risen  out  of  all  proportion 
to  its  food  value  in  relation  to  other  commodities,  and  the 
ignorant  people  would  have  blamed  the  farmer  and  created 
disturbances  and  rioting — such  as  have  recently  occurred  in 
France — which  would  have  upset  the  social  order  of  things 
and  been  bad  for  the  farmer  as  well  as  for  the  country  as 
a  whole." 

A  Pessimistic  Note  from  Yorkshire. — How  the  sheep  farmers 
of  Yorkshire  and  Scotland  have  been  adversely  affected  is 
shown  by  an  extract  from  the  letter  of  one  of  them,  Mr.  John 
Mackenzie,  North-Cote,  near  Skip  ton.  "  Speaking  as  a  sheep 
owner  myself,  I  should  say  that  the  importation  of  frozen 
mutton  has  reduced  the  profits  of  the  rank  and  file  of  British 
flock  owners  to  vanishing  point.  By  '  rank  and  file '  I,  of 
course,  mean  sheep  owners  who  are  entirely  dependent  on  the 
breeding  and  rearing  of  store  sheep  for  their  revenue.  Indeed, 
over  large  tracts  of  the  Scottish  Highlands  the  business 
has  had  to  be  entirely  abandoned  ;  vast  areas  of  excellent 
sheep  land  (mountain)  having  been  cleared  of  sheep  in  recent 
years  and  put  under  deer,  the  former  occupiers  (most  grazing 
runs  are  leaseholds)  of  those  lands,  in  many  instances,  betaking 
themselves  to  Australia,  New  Zealand,  the  Argentine,  and  the 
United  States  of  America,  where,  as  a  rule,  they  usually  amass 
fortunes  by  following  the  occupation  at  which  they  could  not 
make  bread  and  butter  at  home.  And  I  am  quite  within  the 
mark  in  saying  that  the  pressure  on  the  home  producer  is  not 
yet  nearly  so  acute  as  it  will  be.  Every  man  who  has  taken 
an  intelligent  interest  in  this  question  can  have  no  two  opinions 
on  the  matter." 

The  Splendid  Pedigree  Stock  Export  Trade. — The  imports  of 
frozen  meat  into  Great  Britain  have  steadied  the  prices  of 
home-fed  meat  all  round  for  the  last  thirty  years  ;  no  more 
buying  Scotch  wethers  (alive)  at  Is.  a  Ib. !  But  it  does  not 


THE  POSITION  OF  THE  BRITISH  FARMER     8*5 

follow  from  that  that  the  home  trade  has  been  robbed  of  profit* ; 
in  fact,  taking  an  average  of  ten  years,  Mr.  A.  J.  Hick  man, 
of  Court  Lodge,  Egerton,  Kent,  speaking  a  year  or  two  ago, 
said  that  "  sheep  growing  is  the  most  profitable  branch  of 
I'.ntish  husbandry."  Mr.  Hickman,  of  course,  did  not  include 
in  his  average  the  disastrous  1911  season  for  sheep  farmers. 
One  most  favourable  effect  —  as  mentioned  above  —  upon 
the  home  stock  interests  of  the  frozen  and  chilled  meat  trade 
has  been  the  demand  from  South  America  and  Australasia 
for  pure-bred  animals,  and  upon  this  demand  the  pedigree 
herds  and  flocks  in  England  and  Scotland  have  been  largely  built 
up,  and  brought  to  the  present  flourishing  condition.  Argentina 
particularly,  as  will  be  seen  by  figures  given  elsewhere  in  this 
book,  has  been  a  splendid  customer,  and  no  one  can  speak  of 
the  beef  and  mutton  received  from  that  Republic  as  a  "  for- 
eign "  article  pure  and  simple,  considering  that  it  represents 
cattle  and  sheep  descended  from  the  Shorthorns  and  Lincoln 
sheep  and  other  breeds  imported  from  Great  Britain.  Some 
British  breeders  of  live  stock  have  in  this  way  immensely 
benefited  by  the  sale  of  their  stud  sheep  and  cattle  for 
grading-up  purposes  to  the  pastoralists  and  graziers  of  the 
Southern  Hemisphere. 

THe  Evidence  of  Facts  and  Figures. — In  order  to  prove 
the  correctness  of  the  view  held  by  some  men  that 
the  production  of  meat  in  the  United  Kingdom  has  been 
rendered  unremunerative  by  importations  it  would  be  necessary 
to  show  that  the  numbers  of  cattle  and  sheep  had  been  steadily 
reduced  by  the  pressure  of  outside  competition.  But  the 
returns  show  that  with  slight  fluctuations  the  number  of  cattle 
and  sheep  in  the  United  Kingdom  has  been  maintained,  and, 
indeed,  increased. 

Cattlo.  Sheep. 

1880         .          .          .       9,871,644        30,240,722 
1910         .          .          .      11,765,643        31,164,587 

According  to  the  Board  of  Agriculture  returns,  "  Cheviot 
hill  wedder  lambs  "  averaged  in  1876—1880,  14*.  2d.  per  head 
for  top  quality  ;  in  1910  the  price  for  the  same  animal  and 


326     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

grade  was  15s.  As  to  store  cattle,  according  to  the  same 
authority,  a  "  Teviotdale  stirk  "  averaged  £9  8s.  in  the  five 
years  mentioned,  and  in  1910  the  value  is  given  as  £10. 

It  only  needs  the  working  out  of  the  argument  of  this  chapter 
to  show  hi  how  remarkably  small  a  degree  the  large  importa- 
tions of  chilled  and  frozen  meat  have  affected  the  British  stock 
business.  It  is  evident  that  the  farmer  has  perceived  how  best 
to  meet  his  competitor,  by  striving  to  produce  only  the  highest 
grades  of  meat.  So  it  has  come  about  that  the  market  prices 
for  the  best  qualities  of  home-produced  cattle  and  sheep  have 
well  withstood  the  attack  from  overseas.  Two  distinct  trades 
exist,  English  and  Scotch  meat,  and  chilled  and  frozen,  respec- 
tively, and  though  there  is  a  considerable  overlapping,  the 
higher  retail  rates  paid  for  home-fed  meat  allow  of  a 
premium  on  the  wholesale  market  and  on  the  farm  for 
stock  fed  in  British  pastures.  The  new  industry  of  frozen 
meat  has  found  out  new  consumers  in  England.  Of  course,  at 
the  start  the  British  farmers  were  alarmed  at  the  invasion  of 
their  tight  little  island  by  American  beef  and  New  Zealand 
mutton,  and  the  discussions  at  the  "  market  ordinary  "  must 
then  have  been  portentous.  The  new  era  introduced  for 
English  and  Scottish  stock  raisers  about  1880  looked  threaten- 
ing enough.  Rapid  transit,  cheap  freight,  and  Governmental 
assistance  and  encouragement,  helped  the  Australasian  and 
Argentine  farmers  to  launch  their  ventures  in  a  style  that 
promised  badly  for  the  British  grazier,  handicapped  as  he  was 
with  relatively  dearly-rented  and  heavily-taxed  land.  That  a 
difference  in  public  estimation  and  price  does  exist  between 
home-fed  and  imported  dead  meat  we  know,  but  it  has  not 
always  been  clear  why  it  is  quite  so  pronounced.  Were  the 
system  of  transit,  handling,  and  cooking  of  frozen  meat  ideal, 
the  margin  of  value  between  the  two  descriptions  would 
probably  be  much  less.  American  chilled  beef — admittedly 
equal,  or  superior  hi  some  cases,  to  British  in  quality — often 
sells  at  the  same  rates  as  best  English.  Canterbury  mutton 
and  lamb  have  been  mistaken  for  English  Down  meat  by  good 
judges  when  the  properly  thawed  out  joint  has  been  placed 
before  them  hot  from  the  oven  ;  when  cold  however  home-fed 


THE  POSITION  OF  THE   BRITISH   FARMER    M7 

has  the  advantage.  Bat  it  is  inevitable  that  home-fed  meat 
should  sell  hotter  than  frozen  Australasian  or  Argentine,  and  it 
is  plain  that  the  British  fanner  has  been  far  less  seriously  hit  by 
imported  meat  than  by  imported  wheat. 

The  Farmer's  Position  under  Free  Imports. — It  would  be 
interesting  to  read  an  article  from  the  pen  of  a  competent  person 
dealing  with  the  question  of  the  British  farmer's  position  with 
lower  rents  and  cheaper  foods  to-day  as  compared  with 
the  times  of  high  prices  for  their  produce  a  generation  and 
more  ago.  In  the  preceding  pages  of  this  chapter  the  references 
concern  only  the  stock  breeder,  but  as  the  stock  breeder's 
art  is  to  a  certain  degree  wrapped  up  in  the  agricultural  industry 
as  a  whole,  it  may  be  worth  while  in  passing  to  record  the 
opinion  of  many  high  authorities  in  Great  Britain  concerning 
the  alleged  decadence  of  agriculture  in  England  and  Scotland. 
It  is  very  difficult  to  contrast  the  past  and  present  positions  of 
agriculture,  because  everything  has  changed  so  much.  In  the 
early  seventies  the  capital  employed  in  farming  in  the  United 
Kingdom  was  about  £450,000,000 ;  it  is  now  about 
£400,000,000.  The  gross  revenue,  the  average  for  the  five 
years,  June,  1872 — 1877,  was  about  £255,000,000.  It  is  cal- 
culated that  the  average  for  the  last  five  years  has  been  about 
£200,000,000.  According  to  official  figures,  the  gross  income  from 
agricultural  lands  in  Great  Britain  sank  from  £59,500,000  in 
1876—1877  to  £42,156,000  in  1908—1909.  Though  these  figures 
show  a  reduction  in  the  capital  invested  in  the  agricultural 
industry  to-day  as  compared  with  thirty  to  thirty-five  years  ago, 
such  high  authorities  as  Professor  Wrightson  and  Mr.  James  S. 
Macdonald ,  who  have  been  appealed  to  by  the  authors,  hesitate  to 
state  that  British  farming  is  less  prosperous  than  it  was  thirty 
to  forty  years  ago.  If  this  is  so,  then  we  must  give  the  farmer 
credit  for  considerable  smartness  in  changing  his  methods, 
bearing  in  mind  the  fact  that  in  1910  agricultural  foodstuffs 
were  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom  to  the  extent  of 
£206,650,566,  of  which  huge  sum  chilled  and  frozen  meats, 
£21,548,014,  formed  a  part.  A  favourable  change  may  come 
about  when  the  Continental  tariffs  on  meat  are  reduced  or 
abolished,  and  the  regulations,  acting  practically  as  a  prohibi- 


328     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

tion  to  the  import  of  frozen  meat,  are  relaxed  or  removed. 
Then  some  considerable  part  of  the  chilled  and  frozen  meat 
imports,  at  present  finding  their  market  only  in  Great  Britain, 
will  be  diverted  to  Continental  States,  and  the  British  farmer 
should,  in  consequence,  be  able  to  secure  an  enhanced  price 
for  his  stock. 


CHAPTER  XXVI 

THE   INCORPORATED    SOCIETY   OF  HEAT   IMPORTERS 

SOONER  or  later  in  the  history  of  a  trade  the  efforts  towards 
association  among  its  members  spring  up,  and  it  was  early  in 
1894  that  an  attempt  was  made  to  establish  a  society  in  the 
frozen  meat  industry  which  should  form  a  common  ground  for 
dealing  with  the  differences  of  conflicting  interests  in  the  trade. 
Unrestricted  competition  amongst  holders  of  stocks  had  led  and 
was  leading  to  serious  losses,  preventing  the  trade  from  being 
put  on  a  proper  basis  at  the  selling  point.  Some  of  the  leading 
importers  of  frozen  meat  (Australasian  and  Argentine)  then 
formed  a  "  Frozen  Meat  Importers'  Association,"  and  a  set  of 
rules  was  drawn  up.  But  the  motif  of  the  whole  movement, 
the  regulation  by  mutual  consent  of  prices  on  Smithfield 
market,  proved  too  strong  for  the  organization,  which  broke 
down  when  some  members,  who  acted  in  dual  or  triple  capacities 
as  Smithfield  salesmen,  dealers,  or  direct  consignees,  found  it 
impossible  to  reconcile  the  interests  of  their  own  businesses 
with  those  of  the  trade  as  a  whole.  So  after  a  few  months  the 
Association  was  dissolved. 

This  preliminary  failure,  however,  did  not  discourage  those 
who  had  set  their  minds  on  the  establishment  of  a  trade  organi- 
zation, and  the  necessity  for  a  trade  association  was  so  urgent 
that  in  1895  the  "  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association  "  was 
formed,  with  ten  members,  on  wider  lines  than  its  predecessor. 
The  pitfall  of  adhering  to  the  principle  of  price  regulation  was 
avoided,  ample  agenda  being  found  in  the  shape  of  matters  of 
moment  affecting  the  whole  body  of  the  trade,  such  as  insur- 
ance claims,  market  customs,  and  the  relations  of  importers 
with  carriers,  etc.  It  was  soon  discovered  that  there  were 
many  questions  which  could  be  far  better  handled  by  a  body 
representing  the  frozen  meat  trade  than  by  individuals  ;  so  the 


330     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Association   gradually   assumed   an   influential   position   and 
acquired  important  functions. 

Disclosing  Stocks. 

One  of  the  early  schemes  devised  by  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade 
Association  was  that  put  forward  on  September  24,  1896,  for 
the  obtaining  of  reliable  monthly  returns  of  the  stocks  of 
frozen  meat.  This  was  outlined  as  follows  : — 

That  the  quantities  held  by  each  importer,  whether  in  London  or  the  provinces,  be  declared  by 
the  means  of  counters  or  coloured  cards.  The  following  numbers  to  be  inscribed  on  the  counters 
or  cards: — Nil;  500;  1,000;  5,000;  10,000.  Different  colours  to  represent  the  various  classes:— 
Australian  sheep  by  white  counter  ;  New  Zealand  sheep  by  green  counter ;  Plates  by  red  counter  ; 
lambs  by  blue  counter ;  quarters  of  beef  by  yellow  counter. 

That  the  stocks  be  returned  of  the  quantities  held  on  the  Istday  of  the  month.  Stocks  to  include 
frozen  meat  on  any  ship  or  steamer,  docked  but  not  discharged. 

That  the  counters  be  collected  by  a  commissionaire  calling  at  the  various  contributors'  offices  on 
the  first  Tuesday  in  each  month,  and  that  he  be  provided  with  a  locked  box  or  bag  into  which  the 
counters  can  be  deposited. 

That  each  contributor  be  supplied  with  a  stock  of  the  necessary  counters  or  cards,  which  may 
be  put  in  the  stock  returns  box,  either  when  the  commissionaire  calls,  or  at  the  mteting  of  the 
Association. 

That  a  meeting  be  held  on  the  day  of  the  collection,  at  such  hour  in  the  afternoon  as  may  be 
arranged,  when  the  box  shall  be  opened  by  a  member  of  the  Committee  of  the  Association,  or,  in 
the  absence  of  a  member  of  Committee,  by  a  member  of  the  Association  in  the  presence  of  the 
secretary,  and  the  stocks  then  declared. 

Any  contributor  to  the  stock  returns  to  have  a  general  invitation  to  attend  such  meetings. 

That  contributors  be  requested  not  to  impart  to  the  Press,  nor  to  any  private  person  other  than 
contributors,  the  state  of  the  various  stocks. 

This  scheme  did  not  come  into  operation,  but  as  the  subject 
has  received  so  much  attention  of  recent  years,  the  details  may 
have  present,  and  possibly  future,  interest. 

The  Weekly  Prices  Cable. 

It  was  not  until  1897  that  the  Association  entered  upon  the 
most  useful  section  of  its  operations,  a  phase  of  action  which 
won  for  it  prominence  and  appreciation  in  Australia  and  New 
Zealand.  In  that  year  Mr.  R.  E.  N.  Twopeny,  the  then  editor 
of  the  Pastoralists'  Review,  arrived  hi  London  as  the  delegate 
of  the  Australian  freezing  companies,  and  the  Association 
arranged  with  him  for  the  weekly  transmission  by  cable  of  a 
set  of  quotations.  The  prices  were  arrived  at  by  averaging  the 
London  market  quotations  furnished  by  the  members  of  the 
Association.  From  1897  to  the  present  day  the  weekly  cable  of 
Smithfield  prices — amplified  from  time  to  time  according  to 
the  needs  of  the  trade — has  been  despatched.  This  official 
record  has  been  found  to  be  of  incalculable  benefit  to  all 


INCORPORATED  SOCIETY  OF  MEAT  IMPORTERS    881 

engaged  in  the  trade  in  Australasia ;  it  supplemented  the 
eiratic  cabled  advices  on  varying  bases  which  had  previously 
been  despatched  by  London  merchants,  and  the  cable  is  now 
printed  in  every  journal  in  Australasia  which  gives  commercial 
news.  Some  misunderstanding  has  occasionally  arisen  ;  it 
has  been  supposed  that  the  cabled  figures  represent  prices  M 
"  fixed  "  by  the  Association.  Nothing  of  the  sort  was  ever 
contemplated,  the  cable  simply  giving  a  record,  and  as  such, 
carefully  arranged  on  the  basis  of  figures  supplied  by  the  lead- 
ing operators,  no  more  informatory  statement  could  be  tele- 
graphed. A  reproduction  of  the  first  issue  and  the  latest  form 
appears  in  the  Appendices. 

The  Charter  and  the  New  Name. 

On  October  26,  1909,  a  resolution  was  adopted  winding  up 
the  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association,  and  passing  over  all  its 
interests  to  "  The  Incorporated  Society  of  Meat  Importers." 
With  this  acquisition  of  its  charter,  the  Association  took  up 
a  variety  of  extended  duties. 

The  following  are  some  of  the  objects  for  which  the  Society 
was  established,  as  named  in  its  memorandum  of  association. 
Not  only  was  it  formed  "  to  improve  the  conditions  under 
which  the  trade  of  meat  importers  is  carried  on,"  but  also  "  to 
watch  over  and  improve  the  conditions  under  which  imported 
meat  is  prepared,  packed,  shipped,"  etc.,  likewise  to  assist 
improvements  in  methods  and  appliances.  An  important 
function  is  "  to  officially  record  and  register  the  current  market 
prices  of  imported  meat  in  the  United  Kingdom  and  to  publish 
the  same  .  .  .  provided  that  the  Society  shall  not  fix  or 
attempt  to  fix  prices,  or  impose  terms  of  sale."  Other  purposes 
are  the  collection  and  circulation  of  information  among  members 
of  the  trade,  the  promotion  of  discussion,  and  the  undertaking 
of  work  as  a  trade  society  in  securing  necessary  reforms,  etc., 
from  the  Legislature  and  other  authorities.  The  Society  also 
includes  among  its  objects  the  conducting  of  arbitrations  and 
the  nomination  of  surveyors,  valuers,  arbitrators,  and  umpires. 

Its   scope    and    membership    (including     Australian,    New 


332     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT.  TRADE 

Zealand,  North  American,  and  South  American  firms,  ship- 
owners, bankers,  underwriters,  Australian  Agents-General  and 
Government  Commissioners)  now  make  it  a  very  important 
body.  All  vexed  questions  affecting  the  interests  of  the  frozen 
and  chilled  meat  trade  are  taken  up  ;  where  wrongs  can  be 
righted,  and  reforms  effected,  the  institution  takes  action,  and 
much  of  the  improvement  which  has  been  introduced  into  the 
working  of  the  trade  during  the  last  ten  years  or  so  has  been 
due  to  its  interposition. 

One  thing  there  is  which  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association 
has  been  unable  to  do,  viz.,  to  introduce  into  the  forward  trade 
an  approved  c.i.f .  contract  form.  For  years  this  was  hammered 
at,  and  at  length  a  form,  which  seemed  to  meet  all  requirements, 
was  welded  into  shape.  But  the  great  bugbear  of  the  frozen 
meat  trade — conflicting  interests — has  prevented  the  general 
acceptance  of  the  form. 

Past    Presidents   and   Vice-Presidents. 

The  first  president,  in  1896,  was  Sir  Montague  Nelson,  and 
successive  presidents  have  been  : — 

1897.  Mr.  George  Goodsir. 

1898.  Mr.  William  Cook.  Vice-President,  Mr.  George  Goodsir. 

1899.  Mr.  Richmond  Keele.  Vice-President,  Mr.  William  Cook. 

1900.  Mr.  George  Goodsir.  Vice-President,  Mr.  Richmond  Keele. 

1901.  Mr.  William  Blankley.  Vice-President,  Mr.  George  Goodsir. 

1902.  Mr.  J.  N.  Newman.  Vice-President,  Mr.  George  Goodsir. 

1903.  Mr.  J.  A.  Potter.  Viee-President,  Mr.  J.  N.  Newman. 

1904.  Mr.  C.  H.  Inglis.  Vice-President,  Mr.  J.  A.  Potter. 

1905.  Mr.  A.  W.  Pottinger.  Vice-President,  Mr.  William  Blankley. 

1906.  Mr.  W.  Lane  Mitchell.  Vice-President,  Mr.  A.  W.  Pottinger. 

1907.  Mr.  W.  L,ane  Mitchell.  Vice-President,  Mr.  William  Blankloy. 

1908.  Mr.  Gordon  H.  Campbell. 

1909.  Mr.  Gordon  H.  Campbell. 

INCORPORATED  SOCIETY  OP  MEAT  IMPORTERS. 

1910.  Mr.  Gordon  H.  Campbell,  first  President. 

Mr.  William  Blankley,  first  Vice-President. 

1911.  Mr.  Gordon  H.  Campbell,  President. 

Mr.  William  Blankley,  Vice-President. 

1912.  Mr.  Gordon  H.  Campbell,  President. 

Mr.  William  Blankley,  Vice-President. 

Mr.  Thomas  Guy  Nind  acted  as  secretary  till  1909,  when 
the  position  was  assumed  by  Mr.  Louis  H.  Furniss.  The 
registered  office  is  at  15  and  16,  West  Smithfield,  London,  E.G. 
The  Society,  which  is  split  up  into  sectional  Committees  and 
holds  periodic  general  meetings,  has  now  over  a  hundred 
members,  and  it  is  certain  that  on  the  lines  of  its  charter  it  will 
in  process  of  time  become  still  more  effective  in  operating  for 


SIR    AI.KKKH    >KAI.K    HA-I.VM. 


/•,.  f.ir,-  p    \\  <-.'. 


INCORPORATED  SOCIETY  OF  MEAT  IMPORTERS     388 

the  general  welfare  of  the  trade  as  a  whole.  The  Society  will 
be  able  to  take  action  where  individual  traders  and  firms 
cannot,  and  its  functions  will  include  watching  the  general 
course  of  the  trade  and  guarding  the  interests  of  its  members, 
who  constitute  the  importers  of  frozen  and  chilled  meats  into 
London. 


CHAPTER  XXVII 

MECHANICAL   REFRIGERATION 

ALTHOUGH  a  detailed  and  technical  description  of  the  pro- 
cesses by  which  the  science  of  refrigeration  is  applied  to  the 
frozen  meat  industry  would  only  appeal  to  a  very  few  of  those 
interested  in  the  commercial  side  of  the  industry,  a  more 
important  and  wider  function  is  fulfilled  by  giving  a  brief 
account  of  the  elemental  principles  on  which  mechanically 
produced  cold  operates  to  preserve  the  great  meat  supplies 
of  the  world  to-day,  and  of  the  development  of  the  application 
of  refrigeration  in  the  service  of  man. 

The  Principle  of  Mechanical  Refrigeration. — The  present 
glance  at  the  scientific  side  of  refrigeration  must  be  as  brief 
and  non-technical  as  possible.  In  the  classification  of  the 
types  of  machine  the  divisions  adopted  by  Sir  J.  Alfred  Ewing 
may  well  be  followed. 

The  first  broad  distinction  that  may  be  drawn  is  between 
those  machines  that  use  air  as  their  working  substance  and 
those  which  use  a  liquid  which  is  alternately  vaporized  and 
liquefied  during  the  cycle  of  operations. 

In  machines  using  air,  the  air  is  compressed  in  a  cylinder, 
the  heat  produced  by  the  compression  is  removed  by  water 
circulation  and  the  cooled  air  is  allowed  to  expand  in  another 
cylinder  against  a  resistance  and  becomes  further  cooled  in 
virtue  of  the  work  it  does,  and  is  then  discharged  into  the 
chamber  to  be  refrigerated.  These  machines  are  usually 
spoken  of  as  compressed  air  machines. 

In  machines  using  vaporized  liquid  the  underlying  principle 
is  the  using  up  of  heat  units  when  a  liquid  passes  to  a  gaseous 
state,  the  heat  used  being  said  to  become  "  latent." 

In  such  machines  simple  mechanical  compression  may  be 
adopted  as  the  means  of  restoring  the  vapour  to  the  liquid 


A  ft  man  if  Exp*n»r 


ii  i  .r-i  K\I  ist!    (TOT)    THE    i  UMI'I:KSS|O\    SYSTEM    AM>    r."ir»M 

I  HE    ABSOnPTION    SYSTEM    OF     IIEKKIOERATK>X. 

7<»  fn>;-  /i.  :t:u. 


MECHANICAL   UK  TK  ITERATION 

state,  or  the  gas  may  be  absorbed  into  water  or  some  other 
liquid  for  which  it  has  a  chemical  affinity,  the  machines 
adopting  these  alternative  methods  being  grouped  as  "com- 
pression "  and  "  absorption  "  respectively. 

Broadly  speaking,  there  are  three  methods  by  which 
the  cold  produced  by  either  of  the  above  methods  is  com- 
municated to  the  chambers  in  which  the  meat  or  other 
produce  to  be  refrigerated  is  stored.  The  direct  expan- 
sion system  is  that  in  which,  in  the  case  of  ammonia 
compression  machines,  the  gas  is  allowed  to  expand 
direct  into  the  pipes  in  the  cold  store.  In  the  brine  cir- 
culation system  the  cold  is  first  produced  in  a  vessel  of  brine 
by  the  immersion  of  the  expansion  pipes  therein,  the  cooled 
brine  being  circulated  through  the  pipes  in  the  cold  store. 
The  third  system  of  cooling  is  that  known  as  cold  air  circulation, 
in  which  a  current  of  cold  air  is  passed  into  the  store  through 
ventilators  called  "  air-ducts,"  such  air  having  been  passed  for 
refrigerating  purposes  over  a  "  battery  "  consisting  of  either 
direct  expansion  pipes,  cold  brine  pipes,  or  an  open  flow  of 
cold  brine.  The  last  method  is  said  to  have  the  advantage 
of  not  unduly  drying  the  air,  while  it  is  also  claimed  to  clean 
the  atmosphere. 

Reference  should  also  be  made  to  the  vacuum  process  of 
refrigeration,  which  depends  for  the  production  of  cold  upon 
the  evaporation  of  water.  This  is  carried  out  by  means  of 
lowering  the  pressure  of  the  atmosphere  in  the  vessel  con- 
taining water,  and  the  absorption  in  strong  sulphuric  acid 
of  the  vapour  given  off  by  that  water,  but  this  system  is 
of  limited  application. 

Early  Discoveries. — The  earliest  discoveries  in  the  art  of 
refrigeration  date  back  much  farther  than  its  application  to 
the  preservation  of  meat,  and  the  history  of  the  developments 
which  have  produced  the  modern  refrigerating  machine, 
though  it  need  not  be  told  in  the  present  volume,  is  a  thrilling 
one.  Mr.  J.  J.  Coleman,  himself  a  notable  pioneer  of  mechani- 
cal refrigeration,  as  our  previous  pages  show,  stated  in  a  paper 
read  before  the  Institution  of  Civil  Engineers  in  1882  that 
"  although  Sir  John  Herschel  and  others  had  directed  at  ten- 


336    A    HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT   TRADE 

tion  previously  to  the  desirability  of  utilizing  the  expansion 
of  compressed  air  for  the  production  of  cold,  the  credit  of 
actually  constructing  such  apparatus  appears  to  belong  in  this 
country  to  Professor  Piazzi  Smyth.  In  1839  he  had  com- 
menced experiments.  He  seems  to  have  worked  for  a  long 
time  with  apparatus  on  the  method  of  blowing  air  through 
loaded  valves  before  the  principles  of  the  mechanical  theory 
of  heat  as  applied  to  gases  were  properly  understood."  A 
vacuum  ice  machine  was  invented  by  a  Dr.  Cullen  over 
a  century  and  a  half  ago,  and  Ferdinand  Carre,  a  French 
chemist,  invented  the  ammonia  absorption  machine  sixty 
years  ago.  In  1834,  Jacob  Perkins  invented  a  refrigerating 
machine  on  the  compression  system.  The  reputed  father  of 
the  cold  air  refrigerating  machine,  the  system  of  freezing  so 
prominently  associated  with  the  early  stages  of  the  frozen  meat 
export  trade,  was  Dr.  John  Gorrie,  an  American,  who  lived 
and  died  at  Appalachicola,  in  Florida.  Gorrie  introduced  his 
machine  in  1849,  and  now,  sixty-three  years  later,  United 
States  citizens  are  proposing  to  erect  a  statue  to  his  memory. 
There  was  also  a  long  list  of  experimental  work  and  commercial 
enterprises  undertaken  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand,  and  this 
pioneering  effort  is  recorded  at  some  length  in  another  chapter. 

In  addition  to  the  brief  summary  of  early  refrigerating 
patents  recorded  in  Appendix  XII.,  it  may  be  well  to  give  here 
a  few  particulars  concerning  some  of  those  whose  names  are 
prominently  identified  to-day  with  refrigerating  machinery. 

Mr.  J.  J.  Coleman,  whose  name  will  always  be  associated 
with  the  famous  "  Bell-Coleman  "  machine  of  refrigeration's 
early  days,  was,  prior  to  his  connection  with  that  enterprise, 
one  of  the  scientific  experts  in  the  employment  of  Young's 
Paraffin  Light  and  Mineral  Oil  Co.  In  the  paper  which 
has  been  referred  to  above  he  gave  some  interesting 
particulars  of  the  dry  air  refrigerating  machine  which  he 
fitted  on  board  the  Anchor  Liner  Circassia  in  March,  1879. 
The  plant  consisted  of  two  compressors,  16  inches  diameter 
and  16  inches  stroke,  and  was  connected  with  a  chamber 
of  about  18,000  cubic  feet  capacity,  including  engine  space 
and  chamber  walls.  Mr.  Coleman  went^to  New  York 


DIAGRAM    ILLUSTRATING   THK    I.KI  !.-«  uI.KMAN    REFKIGEIUTIXO    MA<  MINE. 

Tit  faff  p.    33*5. 


MECHANICAL  HI  I  HK  ,KRATIO\ 

twice  with  that  machine,  which  was  able  to  keep  the  chamber 
near  freezing  point  at  60  revolutions  per  minute.  Some  400 
carcasses  of  beef  and  large  quantities  of  mutton  \ven-  carried 
on  these  voyages,  the  meat  having  been  previously  cooled  to 
35°  F.  in  chill-rooms  in  New  York,  and  landed  in  England 
at  about  the  same  temperature.  The  machine,  in  fact,  ran 
a  great  number  of  voyages  with  similar  cargoes,  finally  giving 
place  to  a  larger  one,  and  being  transferred  later  to  another 
steamer.  The  owners  of  the  Anchor  Line,  said  Mr.  Coleman, 
deemed  it  desirable  to  fit  up  thirteen  transatlantic  ships  with 
such  machinery,  it  being  resolved  to  abandon  making  the 
machines  in  duplicate. 

A  name  connected  with  some  of  the  earliest  practical 
experiments  in  frozen  meat  export  was  that  of  Sir  Alfred  Seale 
Haslam,  who  was  first  identified  with  the  science  of  mechanical 
refrigeration  in  1876.  Sir  Alfred's  first  connection  with 
refrigerating  machinery  was  in  developing  the  ammonia 
absorption  machine  in  combination  with  his  old  partners, 
Messrs.  Pontifex  and  Wood,  whose  business  he  afterwards 
amalgamated  with  his  own.  The  name  of  Haslam  is  also 
identified  with  some  of  the  earliest  developments  of  the 
air  compression  refrigerating  machine,  and  Sir  Alfred  became 
the  purchaser  of  the  Bell-Coleman  patents.  With  regard 
to  the  early  days  of  the  cold  air  compression  machine  in 
marine  work,  the  Haslam  Foundry  and  Engineering  Co., 
following  the  introduction  of  the  Haslam  "  dry  air  "  machine 
in  1880,  carried  the  major  portion  of  the  meat  imported  into 
the  United  Kingdom  for  many  years.  The  initial  experiments 
made  to  perfect  the  Haslam  dry  air  machine  were  carried 
out  at  Derby  in  connection  with  a  large  building  fitted  up  by 
Sir  Alfred  Haslam  so  as  to  represent  and  give  the  working 
conditions  of  the  freezing  hold  of  a  ship. 

Dr.  Carl  von  Linde  was  one  of  the  earliest  discoverers  of  prac- 
tical mechanical  refrigeration.  Ammonia  compression  machine 
patents  were  first  taken  out  by  him  in  1870,  and  the  first  Linde 
machine  manufactured  for  freezing  meat  was  patented  in  1874. 

Giffard  was  another  early  patentee  of  the  cold  air  com- 
pression refrigerating  machine,  his  first  plant  bein^  pro- 

F.M.  Z 


338     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

duced  in  1873,  and  improved  in  1877.  It  was  in  the 
following  year  that  the  firm  of  Messrs.  J.  and  E.  Hall,  Ltd., 
took  up  their  first  interest  in  refrigeration  by  bringing  over 
the  Giffard  cold  air  machine  which  had  been  exhibited  at  the 
Paris  International  Exhibition  of  1877 ;  and  in  the  early 
eighties  this  firm  was  at  work  fitting  ships  for  the  carriage  of 
frozen  meat,  etc.  In  1888,  Messrs.  J.  and  E.  Hall,  Ltd., 
brought  out  the  carbonic  acid  compression  refrigerating 
machine,  a  type  of  machine  which  has  had  a  very  extensive 
use  on  board  ship.  Messrs.  J.  and  E.  Hall,  Ltd.,  have  also 
carried  out  a  great  number  of  installations  on  land,  and  are  in 
the  front  rank  of  manufacturers  of  refrigeration  machinery. 
The  Oswestry  Grange,  a  sectional  diagram  of  which  appears  on 
page  126,  is  one  of  the  many  refrigerated  liners  fitted  with 
Messrs.  Hall's  machinery. 

An  early  patentee  of  the  cold  air  compression  machine  was 
Mr.  T.  B.  Lightfoot,  who  became  in  1890  the  managing 
director  of  the  Linde  British  Refrigeration  Co.,  Ltd.  In  1880 
Mr.  Lightfoot  introduced  an  improved  cold  air  machine  in 
which  the  expansion  was  performed  in  two  stages,  and  this 
machine  did  considerable  work  in  meat  freezing  on  land  and 
at  sea.  Mr.  Lightfoot  was  also  the  designer  of  what  was 
probably  the  first  commercially  successful  ship's  refrigerating 
plant  in  which  a  chemical  refrigerating  agent  was  used,  this 
being  on  Messrs.  Turnbull,  Martin  and  Co.'s  s.s.  Perthshire  in 
1893  (refrigerated  capacity  240,000  cubic  feet),  all  ships  carry- 
ing frozen  meat  having  up  to  that  time  been  fitted  with  air  com- 
pression machines.  The  first  meat  freezing  plant  designed  by 
Mr.  Lightfoot  and  supplied  by  the  Linde  British  Refrigeration 
Co.  was  that  sent  out  to  the  Wellington  Meat  Export  Co., 
New  Zealand,  in  1891,  and  in  the  same  year  the  two  works  of 
the  Queensland  Meat  Export  Co.  at  Brisbane  and  Townsville 
were  fitted  with  refrigerating  machines  by  the  Linde  British 
Refrigeration  Co. 

Among  the  earliest  types  of  refrigerating  machines  applied 
commercially  was  that  invented  by  Mr.  J.  C.  De  la  Vergne, 
who  introduced  a  patent  ammonia  compression  refrigerating 
machine  in  the  United  States,  and  had  several  plants  in  opera- 


\ii.\ 


TV  fan  p.  338. 


MECHANICAL  REFRIGERATION  S89 

tion  by  1880.  The  De  la  Vergne  British  patents  were  taken  up 
by  Messrs.  L.  Sterne  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  in  1887,  and  it  was  in  that 
year  that  Messrs.  Sterne  installed  at  the  Leadenhall  Cold  Stores 
a  machine  of  40  tons'  daily  refrigerating  capacity ;  this  was 
the  first  De  la  Vergne  machine  erected  in  Great  Britain,  and 
it  is  still  doing  regular  and  efficient  service.  Machinery 
working  on  the  same  system  is  to-day  very  widely  used  in  the 
frozen  meat  trade  in  all  parts  of  the  world. 

A  type  of  refrigerating  machine  popular  in  Australasia 
and  elsewhere  is  the  "  Hercules  "  ammonia  compression  plant 
patented  and  manufactured  by  Mr.  C.  A.  MacDonald,  of 
Chicago,  U.SJL,  and  Sydney,  New  South  Wales.  Mr.  Mac- 
Donald's  first  connection  with  refrigeration  was  in  the  early 
eighties,  when,  for  a  number  of  years,  he  built  machines 
for  Mr.  David  Boyle,  one  of  the  pioneers  of  refrigeration  in  the 
United  States.  The  first  "Hercules"  machine  was  built  in 
1885.  In  1891  Mr.  MacDonald  fitted  up  the  Cunard  liners 
Umbria  and  Elruria  for  the  carriage  of  chilled  beef,  and  also 
five  steamers  for  the  Nelson  Line,  of  Liverpool,  for  the  same 
purpose.  Mr.  MacDonald  went  to  Australia  in  1894.  Many 
of  the  freezing  works  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand  have 
been  fitted  with  "  Hercules "  machinery,  which  is  installed 
in  units  as  large  as  240  tons'  daily  refrigerating  capacity,  a 
machine  of  that  size  being  erected  for  the  Municipal  Markets, 
Melbourne. 

Air  Compression  and  Chemical  Refrigerants. — As  far  as 
Australia  and  New  Zealand  were  concerned,  in  the  early  days 
of  the  frozen  meat  industry — and  it  is  only  with  the  application 
of  mechanical  refrigeration  to  the  meat  trade  that  we  are 
concerned  in  this  chapter — what  was  known  as  the  dry  air 
process  of  refrigeration,  viz.,  the  compression  and  expansion 
of  air,  was  adopted.  The  only  important  exporting  company 
then  using  the  ammonia  process  was  the  New  South  Wales 
Fresh  Food  and  Ice  Co.,  Ltd.,  of  Sydney,  which  can  justly 
claim  the  pioneer-ship  of  ammonia  freezing  in  Australasia, 
that  company  having  had  an  ammonia  system  in  use  at  its 
works  in  Darling  Harbour  long  before  its  adoption  by  other 
companies.  Honour  is  due  to  the  late  Mr.  T.  IS.  Mort,  founder 

L  2 


340     A    HISTORY    OF   THE   FROZEN    MEAT  TRADE 

of  the  company,  for  his  indefatigable  energy  in  persevering 
with  his  experiments  with  ammonia  for  refrigerating  pur- 
poses at  a  time  when  very  little  practical  progress  had  been 
made  with  it  in  any  part  of  the  world. 

During  the  early  nineties,  however,  the  old  dry  air  process 
began  to  give  way  to  the  more  economical  system  employing 
ammonia  and  carbonic  acid  gas,  the  former  of  these  two 
chemical  refrigerants  receiving  more  favour  so  far  as  use  in 
shore  freezing  works  was  concerned,  and  the  latter  being 
regarded  with  similar  favour  for  marine  refrigeration.  Having 
become  used  to  the  system  of  circulating  air  through  the 
rooms  by  the  old  dry  air  machines,  which  belched  the  cold 
expanded  air  into  them  to  be  pumped  out  again,  re-com- 
pressed by  the  compressors,  expanded,  etc.,  in  constant 
cycle,  many  meat  experts  then  persisted  that  any  system 
without  such  rapid  circulation  would  prove  injurious  to 
the  meat.  The  result  was  that,  consequently,  in  the  early  days 
of  the  ammonia  compression  plants  they  were  made  to  expend 
their  energies  upon  cooling  batteries  connected  with  the 
freezing  chambers  by  air  ducts  through  which  air  was  con- 
stantly circulated  by  means  of  fans,  thus  forming  a  complete 
cycle  as  before.  After  a  time,  however,  this  process  began  to 
wane,  owing  to  some  of  the  batteries  frequently  getting  out  of 
order  and  also  on  account  of  the  immense  amount  of  space 
taken  up  by  the  unnecessary  plant  and  air  ducts.  Thus  this 
system  of  refrigeration  later  gave  way  to  the  method  of 
having  the  freezing  rooms  and  stores  fitted  with  direct 
expansion  coils,  and  the  Deniliquin  works  of  the  Riverina 
Frozen  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  can  justly  claim  to  be  the  first  up-to- 
date  establishment  in  Australasia  to  have  its  freezing  chambers 
and  stores  specially  designed  for,  and  fitted  with,  a  direct 
expansion  pipe  system  operated  by  an  ammonia  compression 
plant,  a  combination  now  so  widely  adopted. 

It  is  a  good  testimonial  to  the  quality  of  refrigerating 
engineering  work  to  state  that  at  a  considerable  number  of 
refrigerating  stores  to-day  there  may  be  found  in  operation 
machines  erected  when  mechanical  refrigeration  was  a  new 
(science,  and  these  plants  have  been  steadily  discharging  their 


MK.   T.    II.    I.K;IIIK<»>I. 


To  fucf  p.  840 


MI  (  i!  \\ICAI.  in  rm<;r.K.\Ti<>N  S4t 

doty  for  anything  up  to  a  quarter  of  a  century.  British  makers 
lay  claim  to  the  fact  that  such  survival  is  more  frequently 
met  with  in  their  machines  than  with  plant  made  elsewhere, 
and  certainly  British  refrigerating  machinery  has  a  first-class 
reputation  for  finish,  reliability,  and  efficiency.  The  long 
services  of  many  of  the  old  machines  reminds  one  of  the  fact 
that  the  improvements  which  have  been  continually  made  in 
refrigerating  machinery  have  not,  generally  speaking,  involved 
the  adoption  of  new  principles  as  much  as  the  perfection  of 
detail. 

Insulation. — But  to  revert  to  the  remarks  upon  the  element  a  Is 
of  mechanical  refrigeration,  it  may  be  remarked  that  the  low 
level  of  temperature  is  preserved  in  a  cold  store  by  filling  the 
walls,  floors,  and  ceilings  of  such  chambers  with  heat-insulating 
materials.  A  variety  of  substances  of  low  heat  conductivity 
are  in  use,  such  as  cork,  in  either  granulated  or  slab  form  ; 
charcoal,  in  either  granulated  or  flake  form  ;  silicate  cotton, 
or  "  slag  wool,"  a  fibrous  material  the  thin  threads  of  which 
are  of  blown,  fused  slag  ;  sawdust ;  pumice  ;  felt ;  rice  husks  ; 
kieselguhr,  a  mineral  powder  ;  and  other  substances. 

Modern  Refrigerating  Devices. — Experience  has  shown  that 
the  application  of  refrigeration  to  meat  and  other  foods  is 
successful  proportionately  to  the  care  with  which  it  is  performed. 
The  effect  of  an  irregularly  maintained  temperature  in  a  cold 
chamber  is  harmful  to  the  goods  stored,  and  not  only  have  the 
mechanical  arrangements  of  the  refrigerating  machines  been 
improved  to  avoid  irregularities  of  working,  but  the  devising 
of  air-locks  and  loading  chambers  to  cold  stores,  improved 
means  of  air  circulation,  and  arrangements  of  circulatory  pipes 
and  brine  vessels,  has  been  a  feature  of  later  practice.  Tellier's 
early  experiments  in  the  carrying  of  meat  at  a  temperature 
which  would  not  congeal  it — viz.,  32°  F. — have  their  later 
counterpart  in  the  great  chilled  meat  trade  of  to-day,  and  in 
those  ships  in  which  the  small  ranges  of  temperature  have  to 
be  achieved  for  the  carriage  of  the  meat  at  a  chilling  level  the 
mechanical  arrangements  to  this  end  have  to  be  very  efficient 
and  reliable.  So  exact  have  the  regulating  devices  in  the  brine 
circulatory  systems  of  ship's  refrigerating  installations  now 


342     A   HISTORY  OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

become,  that  the  makers'  claim  to  be  able  to  keep  the  tem- 
perature of  a  meat  hold  to  within  a  degree  Fahrenheit,  or  less, 
is  justified.  Two  systems  of  brine  circulation  are  in  use,  viz., 
the  open  cycle  and  the  closed  cycle  systems.  In  the  former 
the  return  current  from  the  various  circuits  in  the  system  is 
open  and  visible.  In  the  closed  system  this  is  not  so,  and  it  is 
claimed  for  the  latter  method  that  with  it  there  is  no  possibility 
of  air  getting  into  the  piping  and  by  air-locks  preventing  the 
proper  flow  in  some  parts  of  the  circuit.  One  of  the  latest 
systems  of  temperature  regulation  in  meat  chilling  ships'  holds 
is  a  patent  method  of  brine  attemperation  introduced  by  the 
Liverpool  Refrigeration  Co.,  Ltd.  This  works  on  the  closed 
system,  and  in  this  method  there  are  two  systems  of  mains, 
one  conveying  the  zero  brine,  which  is  pumped  directly  from 
the  brine  cooler,  and  the  other  conveying  attemperated  brine 
at  a  much  higher  temperature,  pumped  from  a  container 
called  the  "  attemperator."  Specially  designed  valves  and 
"  headers  "  control  the  mixing  of  these  brine  currents  and  their 
distribution  to  the  various  parts  of  the  installation. 

Temperature  Measurement  and  Recording. — The  careful 
registration  of  the  temperatures  of  cold  stores  is  an  important 
feature,  and  an  up-to-date  method  is  to  have  thermometric 
apparatus  the  indicator  of  which  is  at  a  convenient  point 
outside  the  chamber  or  chambers,  say,  in  a  lobby  or  office. 
These  "  distance  thermometers  "  are  of  great  service  in  refri- 
gerated vessels  where  varying  conditions  of  temperature  have 
frequently  to  be  noted.  Self-recording  thermometers  are  in 
many  cases  used  in  the  refrigerated  holds  of  vessels,  their  tell- 
tale charts  being  taken  as  a  log  or  supplementary  log  of  the 
ranges  of  temperature  experienced  during  a  voyage.  In  the 
case  of  the  Canadian  export  produce  trade  the  Dominion 
Government  has  in  force  an  admirable  system  in  which  it  is 
part  of  the  cargo  inspector's  duty  at  Montreal  to  place  locked-up 
self-recording  thermometers  or  thermographs  in  every  cold 
storage  chamber  where  produce  is  stored.  These  records  are 
removed  by  the  inspectors  in  Great  Britain  and  at  once  mailed 
to  Ottawa,  while  the  instrument  remains  in  the  ship.  Photo- 
graphic copies  are  made  of  the  thermograph  records,  one  copy 


MKCHANICAL  REFRIGERATION 

of  which  is  filed  in  the  exchange  room  at  the  Montreal  Board 
of  Trade  (Chamber  of  Commerce),  another  copy  is  sent  to  the 
Montreal  agents  of  the  shipping  companies,  and  copies  may  be 
had  by  any  interested  shipper.  The  accompanying  illustration 
of  a  temperature  chart,  or  "  policeman  record,"  of  the  ther- 
mometric  conditions  of  the  inside  of  a  ship's  hold  during  a 
voyage,  concerns,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  particulars  written 
thereon,  a  recent  South  American  chilled  meat  shipment  in 
one  of  Messrs.  H.  and  W.  Nelson's  Highland  Line  vessels.  The 
record  has  been  placed  at  the  service  of  the  authors  by  Mr. 
A.  R.  T.  Woods,  the  marine  superintendent  of  that  well-known 
shipping  line.  It  was  this  gentleman  who  devised  the  first 
arrangement  for  temperature  regulation  by  brine  attempera- 
tion  installed  in  1895  on  the  Highland  Chief,  a  chilled  meat 
vessel  still  performing  efficient  service.  Messrs.  J.  and  E.  Hall, 
Ltd.,  fitted  in  this  vessel  a  vertical  CO2  refrigerating  machine, 
which  was  at  the  time  the  largest  plant  of  its  kind  afloat. 

Alarm  devices  to  warn  as  to  high  or  low  limits  of  tempera- 
ture being  exceeded  have  been  adopted  in  connection  with 
cold  stores  on  land  and  at  sea,  and  it  is  worth  while  to  record 
one  of  the  earliest  of  these,  a  clever  form  of  alarm  thermometer, 
which  was  invented  by  Mr.  Francis  Arenas,  of  Christchurch, 
New  Zealand.  The  instrument  was  in  the  form  of  a  metallic 
horseshoe  composed  of  five  different  metals,  its  action  depend- 
ing upon  their  varying  tendencies  to  expansion  and  con- 
traction. The  horseshoe  was  put  in  a  square  case  placed 
vertically  against  a  bulkhead.  The  instrument  was  set  in  such 
a  way  that  its  movements  produced  no  effect  within  normal 
limits  of  temperature.  Directly,  however,  the  temperature 
rose  or  fell  beyond  the  maximum  or  minimum,  the  expansion 
or  contraction  of  the  metals  caused  electrical  short-circuiting,  a 
bell  was  set  ringing,  and  could  not  be  stopped  until  the  tem- 
perature had  been  adjusted.  At  the  same  time  as  the  bell  was 
rung,  a  disc  was  displayed  at  a  little  window  showing  the  word 
"  Heat  "  or  "  Cold,"  and  clockwork  was  set  in  motion  which 
automatically  recorded  the  time  when  the  temperature  had 
been  too  high  or  too  low.  This  alarum  thermometer  one  of  the 
authors  inspected  at  26,  Jewin  Crescent,  London,  in  November, 


34*     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

1897,  and  shortly  afterwards  it  was  destroyed  in  the  big  fire  which 
broke  out  in  that  quarter,  despite  its  loud  alarum ! 

The  Cold  Storage  Chain. — One  of  the  chief  hindrances  to  the 
completely  successful  application  of  refrigeration  to  the  pre- 
servation of  perishable  food  products  is  the  difficulty,  nay,  the 
impossibility,  of  having  a  complete  cold  storage  chain  from  the 
time  that  the  food  is  started  on  its  way  to  the  consumer  to  the 
time  that  it  actually  passes  into  consumption.  In  the  case  of 
meat  there  are  many  points  at  which  this  cold  storage  chain  is 
broken.  From  the  freezing  chamber  at  the  meat  works  it 
makes  at  least  momentary  acquaintance  with  the  outer 
atmosphere  on  its  being  entrained,  and  even  should  the  train 
journey  to  the  ship  be  made  under  ideal  conditions,  there  is 
the  unloading  and  the  putting  either  into  the  dock  cold  store 
or  the  ship's  refrigerated  hold.  On  its  disembarkation,  the 
outer  air  is  again  reached  before  the  meat  can  be  safely  housed 
in  the  land  cold  store,  and  then  again  before  it  reaches  the 
consumer  the  meat  has  several  periods  of  exposure.  Modern 
refrigerating  practice  has  in  several  ways  mitigated  the 
deleterious  effect  which  these  imperfections  in  the  cold  storage 
chain  are  apt  to  have.  Air-locks  or  ante-chambers  are  a 
common  feature  in  cold  store  construction.  When  the  produce 
to  be  stored  is  taken  into  these  ante-chambers,  the  outside  door 
is  shut,  and  the  outside  air  and  heat  are  thus  prevented  from 
rushing  into  the  refrigerating  chamber  on  its  being  opened. 
A  prominent  example  of  the  total  avoidance  of  this  contact 
of  the  produce  with  the  outer  atmosphere  when  the  place  of 
storage  is  changed  is  the  use  by  the  London  Central  Markets 
Cold  Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  of  patent  "  portable  refrigerators,"  or 
large  insulated  boxes,  into  which  meat  or  produce  can  be 
packed  and  conveyed  either  from  ship  to  lighter,  quay  to 
wagon,  or  otherwise. 

Railway  Refrigerator  Cars. — It  is  probable  that  if  there  is 
improvement  needed  in  one  stage  of  commercial  refrigeration 
more  than  in  another  it  is  in  the  means  provided  on  the  railways 
for  keeping  frozen  meat  cool  during  transit.  The  modern 
railway  refrigerator  car  is  at  the  best  nothing  more  than  a 
glorified  ice-box,  and  its  interior  is  all  too  frequently  an  insani- 


1 


IS-I    l.\  I  KM    MII|II|;    VAN. 


THE  8MITHFIELD   AND    AKOENTINK   MKAI    OQ.'l    MVIx—<-REW    KKFKIUF.R  m.l>   KTEAM 

LIGHTER  El  ZaraU. 

A  faff  p.  344. 


MI-CM. \MC.\I.    KF.rKKi  I. RATION  -S45 

tary  chamber.  Means  for  the  mechanical  refrigeration  of  such 
rolling  stock  have  been  devised  before  now,  but  nothing  of  the 
kind  is  in  general  use.  The  ordinary  method  of  cooling  railway 
refrigerator  vans  is  by  means  of  a  tank  containing  ice  and  salt 
freezing  mixture  or  ice  only,  fitted  at  one  or  both  ends  of  the 
car.  The  wagons  themselves  are  generally  insulated,  chief 
protection  in  this  direction  being  overhead  from  the  sun's 
rays.  The  efficiency  of  such  vans  quite  depends  upon  their 
special  design  and  fitting,  and  their  importance  is  very  great 
where  meat  or  other  produce  has  to  be  railed  over  long  distances. 
Their  value  in  the  refrigerated  trade,  perhaps,  cannot  be 
better  illustrated  than  by  mentioning  that  in  the  United  States 
of  America  there  are  altogether  nearly  90,000  refrigerator  cars 
in  service  on  the  railways,  where  journeys  extend  over  several 
days. 

Barges  and  Vans. — The  barges  which  often  form  the  interme- 
diary between  ship  and  cold  store  are  now  in  a  large  proportion 
of  cases  thoroughly  insulated,  and  the  cold  held  in  the  frozen 
carcasses  as  they  are  packed  tight  in  the  barge  converts  the 
river  craft  into  a  veritable  cold  store.  Where  such  barges 
make  their  trips  only  partly  filled  and  unprovided  with  bulk- 
head compartments,  it  will  be  seen  that  their  cargoes  are 
liable  to  damage.  In  some  instances  where  the  barges  or 
lighters  have  heavy  duty  to  perform,  refrigerating  machinery 
is  installed  on  them.  A  recent  example  of  this  is  a  barge, 
207  feet  long,  built  in  England  for  the  La  Blanca  Cold  Storage 
Co.,  and  towed  to  Buenos  Aires  in  the  summer  of  1910.  This 
craft  has  two  steel  decks,  and  is  divided  by  bulkheads  into 
two  large  insulated  holds  of  a  total  capacity  of  80,000  cubic 
feet.  Steam  driven  duplex  ammonia  compression  refrigerating 
machinery  is  installed,  the  barge's  holds  are  lit  throughout 
by  electricity,  and  are  also  equipped  with  an  elaborate  system 
of  meat  runners  and  hooks  which  enable  meat  to  be  dealt  with 
in  the  most  convenient  manner.  The  mammoth  barge  is 
named  after  the  company  which  owns  it.  Another  refrigerated 
craft  of  still  later  construction,  built  for  barging  work  between 
the  Smithfield  and  Argentine  Meat  Co.'s  up-river  works  at 
Zarate  and  the  ocean  steamers  bearing  refrigerated  meat  from 


346     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Argentina  to  British  ports,  is  the  El  Zarate,  a  fine  twin-screw 
vessel,  210  feet  in  length,  of  which  an  illustration  is  given 
herewith.  Her  refrigerated  capacity  is  60,000  cubic  feet,  and 
Haslam's  refrigerating  machinery,  cooling  on  the  brine  circula- 
tion system,  is  installed  to  maintain  the  vessel's  cargo  at  either 
a  chilling  or  freezing  temperature. 

It  is  universally  accepted  that  the  conditions  of  shipment 
or  discharge  of  frozen  meat  cargoes  are  improved  in  ratio  to  the 
proximity  of  the  cold  store  to  the  quayside  and  the  amount 
of  weather  protection  which  the  meat  can  obtain  on  the 
quayside  itself.  Where  frozen  meat  out  of  a  ship  has  to  be 
sorted  to  marks,  the  best  conditions  for  this  work  are  under 
shelter.  Sorting  sheds  are  the  ideal  for  this,  and  by  and  by 
refrigerated  sorting  shed  facilities  will  probably  be  available 
at  all  the  leading  ports. 

The  importance  of  affording  ample  protection  for  refrigerated 
meat  during  its  conveyance  from  ship  to  store,  or  store  to 
market,  etc.,  is  now  universally  recognized,  and  efficient  insulated 
vans,  horse  drawn  or  motor  propelled,  are  in  use  in  all  quarters. 
Such  wagons  are,  like  other  refrigerating  apparatus,  a  subject  of 
Lloyd's  registration  ;  a  common  pattern  of  horse-drawn  vehicle 
being  of  about  2|  tons  tare.  Insulating  material  is  used  for 
packing  the  walls,  roof,  and  floor  of  these  vans,  and  air-tight 
doors  are  provided,  some  of  the  vehicles  being  equipped  with 
meat  runners  and  hooks.  Experiments  with  motor  traction  for 
frozen  meat  were  first  made  about  1900,  and  now  the  uses  of 
this  form  of  conveyance  are  many  and  widespread,  both  for 
town  service  and  over  comparatively  long  distances. 

Defrosting  and  Thawing. — When  frozen  meat  is  being  thawed 
out  under  ordinary  conditions,  the  moisture  from  the  air  is  apt 
to  condense  on  the  surface  and  thoroughly  wet  the  meat,  causing 
it  to  "  weep  "  and  become  discoloured.  Quarters  of  beef, 
with  their  great  areas  of  exposed  flesh,  are  particularly  affected. 
The  unsightly  appearance  of  the  meat  is  the  chief  harm  done. 
Retailers  have  their  own  methods  of  dealing  with  this  difficulty  ; 
and  they  generally  wipe  off  the  moisture  as  it  collects.  Many 
mechanical  means  have  been  tried  for  artificially  thawing, 
or  "  defrosting,"  frozen  beef,  and  in  few  sections  of  the 


MECHANICAL  REFRIGERATION  347 

industry  have  the  engineer  and  inventor  been  more  active 
than  in  this — the  Patent  Office  records  show  a  wealth  of  their 
ideas.  Up  to  1896  eight  processes  had  been  patented. 

No.  1  subjected  the  meat  to  a  continuous  circulation  of  dry 
air,  formed  by  mixing  cold  air  at  a  temperature  of  19°  and 
dry  air  heated  to  70°,  the  combined  current  at  about  26°,  in- 
creased to  about  60°,  being  forced  through  the  thawing  chamber 
by  a  fan.  Time  required  for  thawing,  two  to  five  days. 

No.  2  provided  for  the  circulation  of  air,  dried  by  an  arrange- 
ment of  pipes  containing  cooling  medium  and  suitably  heated 
by  steam  pipes,  passing  over  the  meat  by  natural  means,  and 
by  gradually  increasing  temperature  abstracting  the  frost 
without  depositing  moisture.  Time  required  for  defrosting 
beef  four  days,  sheep  two  days.  This  process  was  in  use  in 
London  for  two-and-a-half  years,  and  at  Malta  for  meat  supplied 
to  troops. 

No.  3. — Heated  air  was  passed  over  fused  or  crystallized 
chloride  of  calcium  and,  mixed  with  the  waste  "  cold  "  from  the 
frozen  meat,  was  drawn  through  the  thawing  chamber  by  an 
exhaust  ventilator. 

No.  4  provided  for  circulation,  by  means  of  a  fan  or  otherwise, 
of  dry  heated  antiseptic  gas,  preferably  carbonic  acid  (COa) 
through  a  closed  chamber  in  which  the  meat  is  hung,  and  when 
partly  thawed,  a  quantity  of  carbonic  monoxide  (CO),  for  the 
purpose  of  giving  the  meat  a  good  colour.  Time  required, 
\vith  a  temperature  80°  to  120°,  mutton  six  to  eight  hours, 
beef  sixteen  to  twenty  hours. 

No.  6  consisted  in  a  process  for  thawing  meat  by  warm  dry  air, 
and  the  treatment  used  for  warming  and  drying,  the  moisture 
being  abstracted  by  contact  with  a  deliquescent  salt  such  as 
calcium  chloride. 

No.  6. — Thawing  was  effected  by  placing  the  meat  in  a  closed 
receptacle  served  with  heated  compressed  air. 

No.  7  was  a  process  for  hermetically  sealing  and  protecting  the 
meat  from  the  atmosphere  by  immersion  in  boiling  fat,  or 
highly  refined,  tasteless,  colourless  oil,  so  as  to  form  an  imper- 
meable coating  on  which  the  moisture  of  the  atmosphere  was 
deposited. 


348     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

No.  8  was  a  process  similar  to  No.  1,  except  that  dry  air  was 
saturated  with  a  regulated  amount  of  moisture  before  being 
propelled  into  the  thawing  room. 

From  1897  to  the  present  time  the  Nelson  process  has  been 
in  limited  use.  Noticing  the  accumulation  of  snow  on  the 
ammonia  expansion  pipes  in  the  cold  rooms  at  Nelson's  Wharf, 
Lambeth,  as  the  effect  of  freezing  out  the  moisture  from  the 
air,  it  occurred  to  Sir  Montague  Nelson  that  it  would  be  possible 
both  to  produce  a  dry  atmosphere  and  one  which  could  be 
varied  in  temperature  while  drying.  This  he  accomplished  by 
placing  steam  pipes  under  a  grating  in  the  floor  and  ammonia 
expansion  pipes  on  the  side  walls  of  the  room,  having  screens 
in  front  of  them  open  above  and  below  for  the  circulation  of 
air.  Eighteen  rooms  of  this  construction  were  fitted  up  for 
hanging  quarters  of  beef  or  sheep,  which  meat  is  put  into  them 
in  a  hard  frozen  state  direct  from  the  cold  rooms.  On  steam 
being  let  into  the  steam  pipes,  warm  air  rises  from  around 
these  to  descend  on  each  side  of  the  room  behind  the  screened 
ammonia  pipes,  on  which  the  moisture  of  the  air  is  frozen,  and 
retained  whilst  the  freezing  pipes  are  at  work.  By  regulating 
the  steam  and  ammonia  cocks,  the  temperature  can  be  varied 
from  about  38°  F.  to  56°  F.,  gradually  getting  drier  all  the 
time.  Beef  requires  four  and  sheep  two  days  to  defrost  under 
this  process.  When  frozen  meat  thaws  under  ordinary  condi- 
tions it  looks  blue  and  wet,  by  reason  of  the  moisture  of  the 
air  condensing  on  the  cold  surface  of  the  meat,  but  the  effect  of 
Sir  Montague  Nelson's  "  defrosting  "  process  is  to  restore  frozen 
meat  to  its  original  bright  colour  and  dry  surface  as  when  killed, 
thus  enhancing  its  value  and  at  a  comparatively  small  cost. 

In  1894  Mr.  Jacob  Atherton,  of  Liverpool,  patented  a  process 
for  defrosting  frozen  meat  by  means  of  circulating  an  anti- 
septic gas  round  it  in  a  dry  and  heated  state.  The  British 
and  Colonial  Meat  Defrosting  Syndicate,  capital  £60,000,  was 
formed  to  exploit  Mr.  Atherton's  invention,  and  opened  a 
defrosting  chamber  at  72,  Cowcross  Street,  near  Smithfield, 
doing  a  fair  amount  of  business  in  thawing  frozen  meat  for 
the  market  salesmen,  at  a  charge  of  35.  per  quarter  of  beef,  and 
Is.  per  sheep. 


MF<  HANICAL   REFRIG1  K  A  I  ION  :H!) 

In  1896  Mr.  Peek,  engineer  of  the  Waitara  Freezing  Works, 
Now  Zealand,  patented  a  plan  for  thawing  frozen  meat  by 
blowing  warm  air  upon  it,  and  admitting  atmospheric  air  in 
such  a  proportion  as  to  approximate  the  dew  point  of  the  air 
in  the  chambers  to  the  temperature  of  the  meat. 

Dr.  O'Doherty,  of  Brisbane,  was  the  inventor  of  a  process  of  an 
ambitious  nature  for  "preserving  "fresh  or  frozen  meat:  he  placed 
his  meat  in  an  air-tight  chamber,  and  then  pumped  in  a  preserv- 
ing gas,  the  temperature  being  kept  between  30°  F.  and  40°  F. 

Mr.  Postle  devised  a  simple  plan  for  the  Sydney  Fresh  Food 
and  Ice  Co.,  his  defrosting  medium  being  hot  dry  air. 

Messrs.  E.  Smethurst  and  R.  W.  Chapman,  New  Zealand, 
defrosted  mutton  by  attaching  the  carcasses  to  the  rim  of  a 
wheel  5  feet  in  diameter  fixed  to  a  vertical  shaft.  The  wheel 
was  revolved,  and  the  carcasses  swung  outwards,  and  their 
rapid  passage  and  centrifugal  motion  thawed  the  meat  and 
prevented  the  forming  of  moisture.  A  machine  was  erected 
near  Smithfield,  and  when  put  in  motion, with  fourteen  carcasses 
extended  horizontally  from  the  circumference  of  the  wheel 
whizzing  round  at  great  speed,  the  apparatus  had  a  most 
weird  appearance.  It  was  dangerous  withal,  for  had  one  of 
the  flying  bodies  slipped  its  hook,  the  spectator  might  himself 
have  become  dead  meat.  The  date  of  this  invention  was 
1902.  It  was  successful  only  when  the  atmosphere  was  dry. 

Another  thawing  patent  was  that  of  Messrs.  C.  A.  Lichten- 
berg  and  T.  L.  Washington,  used  in  connection  with  the 
Mediterranean  frozen  meat  trade— for  the  troops.  Hot  and 
cold  air  thoroughly  dried  and  mixed  in  proper  proportions  was 
blown  by  fans  on  to  the  frozen  beef,  the  temperature  of  which 
was  gradually  raised  to  60°  F. 

Mr.  A.  H.  Chapman,  Otago,  New  Zealand,  patented  a  close- 
fit  ting  waterproof  and  air-tight  bag;  enclosed  in  this,  until 
the  atmospheric  temperature  was  reached,  frozen  meat  would, 
Mr.  Chapman  claimed,  thaw  out  in  good  condition. 

Mr.  Fred  A.  Furlonge,  Hawera,  New  Zealand,  patented  a 
non-porous  bag  for  frozen  mutton,  but  this  was  intended  also 
to  protect  the  meat  as  early  as  in  the  freezing  stage. 

The  Macmeikan  defrosting  process  is  worked  on  the  principle 


350     A    HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

of  air  sterilization.  The  supply  of  air  is  regulated  by  an 
electric  motor,  automatic  inlet  valves  adjusting  the  air  current 
according  to  the  weight  of  the  carcass  hung  in  the  defrosting 
chamber.  The  process,  the  proprietors  of  which  are  the 
Macmeikan  Defrosting  Process  Co.  Proprietary,  Ltd.,  is  associ- 
ated with  a  freezing  system,  and  in  respect  of  both  defrosting 
and  freezing  very  striking  claims  are  made  by  the  proprietors. 
A  demonstration  of  the  process  took  place  in  November,  1911, 
at  Plymouth,  and  some  meat  defrosted  by  the  apparatus  was 
placed  on  view  at  the  London  Central  Markets. 

The  chronicling  of  these  various  patents  is  interesting  history, 
but  the  net  result  of  all  these  attempts  to  solve  the  problem  is 
that  defrosting  has  failed  commercially.  The  Nelson  process 
has  a  limited  scope  in  certain  directions,  but,  speaking  generally, 
mechanical  thawing  of  frozen  meat  was  not,  and  is  not, 
successful,  because  buyers  decline  to  pay  a  small  extra  price  for 
defrosted  meat ;  frozen  meat  is  an  article  that  has  to  be  sold  at 
minimum  rates,  and  a  retailer  will  not  pay  the  additional  \d.  or 
^d.  per  Ib.  that  has  to  be  charged  to  cover  the  cost  of  the  process, 
and  the  New  Zealand  and  other  inventors  in  their  patents  did 
not  take  this  fact  into  consideration.  In  addition,  few  of  the 
processes  were  mechanically  effective. 


CHAPTER  XXVIII 

LEADING   PERSONALITIES   IN  THE  TRADE 

ANDERSON,  GILBERT,  has  a  connection  with  the  frozen 
meat  trade  which  dates  from  1891.  Nine  years  had  elapsed 
from  the  Dunedin'a  pioneer  voyage  in  the  interests  of  New 
Zealand's  meat  shipments,  and  the  enthusiasm  which  followed 
that  successful  start  having  somewhat  evaporated  at  the  end 
of  the  first  decade  of  the  Colonial  meat  export  industry,  there 
was  a  felt  want  for  the  application  of  more  organized  methods 
in  the  business.  In  1891  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  asked 
Mr.  Anderson  to  take  up  the  position  of  managing  director. 
Mr.  Anderson  had  had  a  varied  mercantile  career,  and  he 
applied  his  commercial  experience  to  the  management  of  the 
company  with  such  success  that  Dr.  Symes,  speaking  at  a 
meeting  of  shareholders  on  March  2,  1906,  said  that  Mr. 
Anderson  had  given  the  company  an  assured  position  and  had 
converted  it  into  an  institution  of  colonial  importance.  Mr. 
Anderson  made  a  point  of  working  up  the  by-products  so 
thoroughly  that  they  became  one  of  the  chief  sources  of  the 
shareholders'  profits.  He  also  developed  the  meat  business 
on  c.i.f.  lines  with  standard  grades.  The  capital  of  the  Christ- 
ohurch  Meat  Co.  was  £50,000  when  Mr.  Anderson  took  charge, 
and  £300,000  when  he  resigned  in  1906  ;  the  freezing  capacity 
of  1,500  sheep  per  day  had  increased  to  15,000;  and  the 
exports  of  mutton  and  lamb  from  250,000  to  1,250,000  carcasses 
per  annum.  These  figures  include  the  capital  and  capacity, 
respectively,  of  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.,  and  also 
of  a  previous  amalgamation,  namely,  that  of  the  South  Canter- 
bury Freezing  Co., and  the  Wairau  Freezing  Co., all  of  which  had 
been  amalgamated  with  the  Christchurch  Meat  Co.  In  1906 
Mr.  Anderson,  having  had  a  serious  breakdown  in  health, 
resigned  his  position  and  went  to  London,  where  he  now  carries 


352     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

on  business  under  the  style  of  Gilbert  Anderson  and  Co.,  colonial 
agents,  frozen  meat  representing  an  important  feature  of  the 
firm's  operations. 

BELL,  JOHN,  AND  SONS,  LONDON,  LIVERPOOL  AND  GLASGOW, 
was  a  business  started  in  1827  by  the  late  Mr.  John  Bell, 
and  was  subsequently  carried  on  by  his  two  sons,  Mr. 
Henry  Bell  (now  Sir  Henry  Bell,  Bart.),  and  Mr,  James 
Bell  (now  Sir  James  Bell,  Bart.).  Messrs.  Bell  turned  their 
business  in  1888  into  a  limited  liability  company,  which  a  year 
later  was  taken  over  by  Eastmans,  Ltd.,  a  concern  formed  to 
acquire  this  undertaking  as  well  as  the  Eastman  cattle  and 
fresh  meat  business  of  New  York.  Messrs.  John  Bell  and  Sons 
began  to  open  up  meat  shops  in  Great  Britain  about  1879,  and 
the  multiple  shop  company  system  may  be  credited  fairly  to 
their  pioneering.  When  John  Bell  and  Sons,  Ltd.,  ceased  to 
exist  in  1889,  the  company  had  330  shops  in  the  British  Isles. 
In  another  highly  important  matter  is  the  name  of  Bell  asso- 
ciated with  the  frozen  meat  industry.  On  p.  24  will  be  found 
information  respecting  the  Bell-Coleman  refrigerator,  by  means 
of  which  machine  the  first  shipment  of  frozen  meat  was  brought 
from  Australia  in  the  s.s.  Strathleven  to  London  by  Messrs. 
Mcllwraith,  McEacharn  and  Co.  in  1880. 

BLANKLEY,  WILLIAM. — Mr.  William  Blankley's  connection 
with  the  frozen  meat  industry  goes  back  to  1886.  He  left  the 
business  of  his  father,  who  was  a  Leadenhall  Market  salesman, 
in  1884,  and  after  a  year's  sojourn  in  Australia  returned  to 
England  and  associated  himself  with  the  fortunes  of  Smith- 
field  Market,  moving  to  the  Japanese  Village  (then  quite  a 
"  Deserted  Village ")  in  1890.  Mr.  Blankley  was  one  of 
the  earliest  supporters  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association, 
of  which  he  was  President  in  1901,  and  Vice-President  in  1906, 
1908,  1910,  and  1911,  and  has  throughout  been  an  active 
member  of  the  Council.  In  the  early  days  of  the  Association 
there  was  some  little  friction  between  buyers'  and  sellers' 
interests,  and  Mr.  Blankley  was  instrumental  in  forming  the 
Frozen  Meat  C.I.F.  Buyers'  Association  in  1907.  The 


MR.   OILBKKT   ANI>Kl:-"V 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE      868 

difficulties  alluded  to  were,  however,  of  a  temporary  nature,  and 
the  operations  of  the  Buyers'  Association  were  soon  suspended, 
though  as  a  body  it  still  exists.  Mr.  Blankloy  has  always  been 
a  practical  supporter  of  the  c.i.f.  method  of  conducting  the 
frozen  meat  trade,  without  which  he  does  not  believe  that  the 
industry  could  have  reached  its  present  proportions.  He  is 
satisfied  with  the  development  of  the  trade  as  a  whole,  but* 
"  deplores  the  obsolete  and  apathetic  position  in  which  the 
various  insurance  companies  are  content  to  remain."  Mr. 
Blankley  and  other  c.i.f.  buyers  are  trying  a  new  departure  in 
connection  with  insurance,  the  results  of  which,  if  not  equal 
to  their  sanguine  ideas,  must  prove  a  great  improvement,  they 
maintain,  upon  existing  conditions. 

NORTH  WICK,  SIR  THOMAS,  BART.,  was  born  in  Edinburgh, 
and  started  at  Liverpool  and  Manchester  in  1863  as  live  stock 
agent.  When  the  Strathleven'a  cargo  arrived  in  1880,  Mr. 
Borthwick  was  much  impressed  with  the  possibilities  of  the 
new  trade,  and  he  quickly  discovered  that  the  live  stock 
business  would  be  superseded  by  that  in  frozen  meat.  Fore- 
seeing something  of  the  enormous  developments  which  awaited 
dead  meat  import  from  Australasia  and  Argentina,  Mr.  Borth- 
wick decided  to  take  a  hand  in  the  trade,  and  opened  depots 
at  Liverpool,  Manchester,  Glasgow,  and  Birmingham,  and  in 
1883  became  selling  agent  for  the  New  Zealand  Loan  and 
Mercantile  Agency  Co.,  Ltd.  In  1892  he  brought  his  head  office 
to  London,  where  he  secured  a  stall  at  Smithfield.  Assisted 
by  his  sons — whom  he  took  into  partnership— Mr.  Borthwick 
transacted  a  large  wholesale  business  as  importer  and  dis- 
tributor. Not  content  with  importing  and  distributing  in 
Great  Britain,  the  firm  turned  their  attention  to  frozen  meat 
in  Australasia,  and  opened  freezing  works  at  Waitara  (1901) 
and  Hastings  (1905),  New  Zealand  ;  and  at  Portland  (1903), 
and  Melbourne,  Victoria,  as  well  as  at  Brisbane,  Queens- 
land (1911).  They  also  established  branch  offices  at  Christ- 
church,  New  Zealand  (where  the  company  now  have  offices 
in  five  towns),  and  in  Sydney,  Melbourne,  and  Brisbane, 
Australia,  and  greatly  extended  their  Smithfield  Market 

F.M.  A  A 


354     A   HISTORY   OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

offices  and  stalls.  In  1904,  when  the  volume  and  scope 
of  the  firm's  business  had  largely  expanded,  Thomas  Borthwick 
and  Sons,  Ltd.,  capital  £300,000,  was  registered.  Mr.  Thomas 
Borthwick,  the  eldest  son,  is  managing  director,  and  Sir 
Thomas's  three  other  sons,  Mr.  Algernon,  Mr.  William,  and 
Mr.  James,  have  charge  of  the  New  Zealand,  Australian,  and 
Liverpool  and  Manchester  businesses.  This  company's  opera- 
tions, it  will  be  seen,  control  at  every  point  the  frozen  meat  it 
handles,  from  live  stock  market  in  Australasia  to  the  dead  meat 
market  hi  Great  Britain.  Sir  Thomas,  who  received  his 
baronetcy  in  1907,  is  a  Past  President  of  the  Cold  Storage  and 
Ice  Association.  He  has  an  estate  at  Whitburgh,  Midlothian, 
where  he  farms  about  1,000  acres  of  land  ;  he  is  on  the  Mid- 
lothian County  Council  Licensing  Bench,  and  is  interested  in 
technical  education.  Sir  Thomas  has  had  time  to  take  a 
prominent  interest  in  national  and  local  politics,  and  is  con- 
sidered in  the  North  a  tower  of  strength  to  the  Liberal  Party. 

CAMPBELL,  GORDON. — Mr.  Gordon  Campbell  joined  the  firm 
of  W.  Weddel  and  Co.  in  1895,  having  previously  been  associated 
with  the  Victorian  Government  offices  in  London,  where  he 
reported  upon  and  generally  supervised  Victorian  produce. 
Mr.  Campbell  first  became  connected  with  the  produce  business 
through  the  late  Hon.  Robert  Reid,  of  Victoria,  with  whom  he 
travelled  to  England  in  1893,  when  that  gentleman  was  on  his 
mission  to  find  fresh  markets  for  the  sale  of  Australian  pro- 
ductions in  Europe,  and,  more  particularly,  for  those  of  Victoria, 
for  which  State  he  was,  at  that  time,  the  Minister  for  Defence. 
Mr.  Campbell  acted  under  Mr.  Reid  in  London,  and  later  on, 
for  a  period  of  about  eighteen  months,  under  the  Agent-General 
of  Victoria,  and  it  was  through  that  source  that  he  came  into 
touch  with  Mr.  William  Weddel,  who  in  1895  offered  him  a 
position  in  his  firm.  The  arrangement  being  mutually  satis- 
factory, the  agreement  was  from  time  to  time  renewed  until 
1906,  when  Mr.  Campbell  became  a  partner.  Mr.  Campbell 
was  born  in  Sydney,  but  has  spent  most  of  his  time  in  England, 
although  for  five  years,  from  1888  to  1892,  he  was  on  a  sheep 
and  cattle  station  in  the  north-west  of  New  South  Wales,  so 


M|i»IA>    r.->l:l  IIWHK,    i:\Kl. 


To  face  p.  354. 


LEADING  PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE     865 

that  his  practical  experiences  of  stock  matters  have  been  of 
value  to  him  in  his  work.  Mr.  Campbell  has  been  from  the 
first  in  close  touch  with  all  the  sections  of  Smithficld  Market, 
and  at  the  present  time  is  President  of  the  Incorporated  Society 
of  Meat  Importers,  a  position  to  which  he  has  been  four 
times  re-elected. 

CAMERON,  HENRY  CHARLES,  who  is  Produce  Commissioner 
in  London  for  the  New  Zealand  Government,  comes  of  an 
old  farming  family,  the  Camerons  of  Balnakyle  being  well 
known  in  Scotch  agricultural  circles.  Proceeding  to  New 
Zealand  when  a  young  man,  Mr.  Cameron  became  engaged  in 
agricultural  and  pastoral  pursuits,  and  has  been  closely  iden- 
tified with  the  development  of  the  frozen  meat  industry  ever 
since  its  inception.  Returning  to  England  after  several  years' 
experience  in  New  Zealand,  he,  in  1894,  opened  a  store  in 
Manchester  for  the  high-class  retail  sale  of  New  Zealand  meat, 
as  mentioned  at  p.  203.  Some  years  later,  having  worked  up 
an  extensive  connection,  he  transferred  his  Manchester  business 
to  Messrs.  W.  and  R.  Fletcher,  Ltd.,  by  whom  it  is  still  carried 
on,  and  joined  the  New  Zealand  Government  as  Produce 
Commissioner  for  the  Dominion  in  London.  In  this  important 
appointment  Mr.  Cameron  had  to  take  in  hand  much  respon- 
sible work  in  connection  with  the  importation  and  sale  of  New 
Zealand  meat.  Some  of  the  work  was  far  from  agreeable, 
although  very  necessary.  The  prosecution  on  behalf  of  the 
New  Zealand  Government  of  meat  retailers  charged  with  selling 
as  *'  New  Zealand  "  meat  that  had  never  left  the  shores  of  the 
Dominion,  was  successfully  carried  through  by  Mr.  Cameron, 
although  every  difficulty  that  could  be  thrown  in  the  way  of 
prosecutions  of  this  nature  had  to  be  encountered.  Probably, 
on  account  of  the  fact  that  meat  from  Australia  and  South 
America  has  so  much  improved  of  late  years,  judicial  pro- 
cedure of  this  kind  may  not  again  have  to  be  invoked. 
Mr.  Cameron  has  always  been  a  strong  advocate  of  adver- 
tisement by  demonstration  and  of  meat  marking  as  a  means 
for  the  development  of  the  New  Zealand  meat  trade  amongst 
the  better  class  of  consumers  in  Great  Britain.  Possibly,  if 

A  A  2 


356     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

the  pigeon-holes  of  the  Government  office  at  Wellington  were 
searched,  many  special  reports  by  Mr.  Cameron  would  be  dis- 
covered dealing  with  practical  issues  and  vexed  questions 
relating  to  the  frozen  meat  export  trade  of  New  Zealand.  In 
shaping  the  destinies  of  the  trade,  as  far  as  handling  and 
marketing  in  Great  Britain  are  concerned,  and  in  the  depart- 
ment of  work  which  a  representative  of  the  Government  may 
properly  take,  Mr.  H.  C.  Cameron  has  not  played  an  un- 
important part. 

CHRISTISON,  ROBERT,  now  of  Burwell  Park,  Lincolnshire, 
who  was  one  of  the  earliest  pioneers  of  meat  freezing  in 
Australia,  went  to  Australia  in  1852  and  took  up  pastoral 
pursuits  in  North  Queensland  in  1865,  acquiring  Lammermoor 
Station  in  the  following  year.  Mr.  Christison  established  a 
pedigree  herd  of  Hereford  cattle,  and  it  may  be  noted  to  his 
credit  that  he  was  kind  to  the  aborigines  on  his  property,  and 
that  he  trained  them  successfully  as  station  hands.  He  also 
was  one  of  the  first  squatters  to  sink  artesian  wells.  In  1881 
Mr.  Christison,  observing  the  success  of  the  Strathleven  ship- 
ment, was  instrumental  in  the  erection  of  the  Poole  Island 
(Bowen,  Queensland)  refrigerating  and  slaughtering  works 
for  the  export  of  beef  to  England  (see  p.  36). 

COOK,  THE  LATE  WILLIAM,  was  for  many  years  general 
manager  in  Europe  for  the  Compania  Sansinena  de  Games 
Congeladas.  He  was  born  in  Argentina  in  1851,  and  was 
associated  with  Messrs.  Sansinena  before  they  began  freezing. 
Mr.  Cook  went  to  England  in  1885 — 1886  mainly  to  fix  up  a 
freight  contract,  which  after  some  trouble  was  arranged  with 
Messrs.  Houston.  Messrs.  Sansinena's  business  was  in  1891 
turned  into  a  company  under  Argentine  law.  Mr.  Cook 
managed  the  European  interests  with  great  ability  and  enter- 
prise, and  was  a  highly  esteemed  personage  in  frozen  meat 
circles  in  London  ;  he  had  a  clear  perception  of  the  problems 
of  the  trade,  and  had  his  own  ways  of  settling  them.  He 
used  to  surprise  the  market  at  times  by  raising  his  prices 
when  large  imports  of  Argentine  meat  came  along  and  lowering 


LEADING   PERSONAUTIES  IN  THE  TRADE     867 

them  when  the  stocks  were  getting  low  I  Mr.  Cook  was  full  of 
ideas.  One  of  them  shows  that  he  thought  out  the  theory  of 
"  pro-cooling."  Insulated  railway  wagons  had  cold  air  pumped 
into  them  at  Havre  by  means  of  a  pipe  from  a  refrigerating 
machine ;  so  cold  was  meat  thus  kept  on  the  journey  to  Marseilles 
that  it  arrived  there  with  the  frost  on  it.  Mr.  Cook  in  1887 
changed  the  English  head  office  of  Sansinena's  from  Liver- 
pool to  London,  and  at  first  had  difficulty  in  selling  Argentine 
meat  against  the  primer  New  Zealand.  He  retired  from 
Sansinena's  in  1905,  and  died  in  Argentina  in  January,  1908. 

COOKS,  JOHN,  senior  partner  in  the  firm  of  John  Cooke 
and  Co.,  Australia,  whose  activities  at  the  beginning  of  the 
eighties  were  a  large  factor  in  the  setting  on  foot  of  several  of 
the  leading  meat  freezing  and  exporting  enterprises  in  New 
Zealand,  and  whose  present  connection  with  the  Australasian 
exporting  trade  is  also  well  known,  as  a  youth  served  an 
apprenticeship  with  the  linen  manufacturing  trade  in  Belfast, 
Ireland,  his  native  town.  In  1873  he  left  for  New  Zealand,  a 
young  man  of  twenty-one  in  search  of  more  robust  health. 
Within  a  few  hours  of  arrival  in  Dunedin — after  a  voyage  of  1 10 
days  in  the  Warrior  Queen — he  obtained  employment  in  a  whole- 
sale warehouse,  but  left  it  after  three  months  to  join  the  staff  of 
the  Otago  Guardian,  which  had  then  associated  with  it  such 
men  as  R.  J.  Creighton,  Vincent  Pyke,  and  Thomas  Bracken. 
While  in  that  service,  one  of  the  newspaper  company's  directors, 
the  late  Henry  Driver,  induced  him  to  join  the  New  Zealand 
Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.,  Ltd.,  of  which  he  was  the 
Otago  manager.  Four  years  later,  in  1878,  Mr.  Cooke  was 
transferred  to  Christchurch,  and  immediately  became  manager 
of  the  company's  Canterbury  business.  At  that  time  New 
Zealand  was  in  a  very  bad  way,  having  felt  the  influence  of  bad 
seasons  and  very  low  markets  for  stock  and  produce,  besides 
which  the  City  of  Glasgow  Bank  troubles  very  prejudicially 
affected  many  New  Zealand  financial  institutions.  The  efforts 
being  made  in  Australia  to  transport  frozen  meat  attracted 
Mr.Cooke's  attention,  and  when  the  New  Zealand  and  Australian 
Land  Co.  began  its  experimental  shipments  by  sailing 


358     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

from  New  Zealand  he  determined  to  take  a  vigorous  hand, 
recognizing  that  it  was  the  sole  hope  for  permanently  enhancing 
values  of  rural  lands  and  live  stock.  From  1880  until  1889, 
when  he  was  transferred  to  the  managership  of  the  New  Zealand 
Loan  and  Mercantile  Co.'s  Melbourne  branch,  he  worked  day 
and  night  in  promoting  and  extending  the  New  Zealand  frozen 
meat  trade,  especially  in  Canterbury.  The  banquet  given  in 
his  honour  in  July,  1889,  by  the  Canterbury  Agricultural  and 
Pastoral  Association  and  the  Canterbury  Chamber  of  Commerce 
was  a  unique  compliment,  attended  as  it  was  by  most  of  the 
leading  pastoralists  and  farmers  in  Canterbury,  and  also  by 
the  leading  merchants  of  Christchurch.  Mr.  Cooke  became 
manager  in  Australia  in  1891  of  the  Australian  Mortgage 
Land  and  Finance  Co.  He  was  a  leading  spirit  in  resurrect- 
ing the  Australian  frozen  meat  export  trade,  which  had 
slackened  off  and  threatened  to  disappear.  Mr.  Cooke 
helped  Sir  Thomas  Mcllwraith  in  the  formation  of  the 
Queensland  Meat  Export  and  Agency  Co.  In  1895,  Mr. 
Cooke  retired  from  company  management,  and  commenced 
business  on  his  own  account,  devoting  himself  chiefly  to  frozen 
meat  export ;  he  acquired  the  Newport  (Melbourne)  freezing 
works  from  Mr.  Hotson.  The  tide  of  demand  for  meat  and 
other  frozen  food  products  that  beat  on  Australian  shores 
from  South  Africa  during  the  war  was  taken  at  the  flood  by 
Mr.  Cooke,  and  doubtless  led  on  to  fortune  ;  he  supplied  about 
90  per  cent,  of  the  Australian  meat  issued  to  the  British  troops. 
As  beef  was  called  for  in  that  connection,  Mr.  Cooke  erected 
the  Redbank  Freezing  Works,  on  the  Brisbane  river,  and 
acquired  a  large  shareholding  interest  in  the  Burdekin  works 
in  North  Queensland  ;  he  also  acquired  the  output  of  other 
works  in  Queensland  to  build  up  his  beef  export  trade  to 
various  parts  of  the  world  ;  Mr.  Cooke,  in  1902,  took  over  the 
Sandown  Works  and  other  establishments  owned  by  the 
Austral  Freezing  Works.  It  was  in  the  early  eighties  that 
Mr.  Cooke  became  intimately  acquainted  with  Mr.  William 
Weddel,  then  associated  with  the  New  Zealand  Grain 
Agency  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  Mr.  Cooke  professes  pride  in  the 
fact  that  he  exercised  some  influence  on  Mr.  Weddel  in  his 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE     850 

subsequent  determination  to  devote  his  future  energies  to  the 
frozen  meat  trade.  Some  record  of  Mr.  Cooke's  work  in 
connection  with  the  industry  is  to  be  found  in  the  chapters 
on  Australian  and  New  Zealand  freezing  works. 

Cox,  E.  OWEN,  general  manager  in  Australia  of  Birt  and  Co., 
Ltd.,  originally  entered  the  Bank  of  Australasia,  New  Zealand, 
and  was  eleven  years  in  that  institution.  When  he  left  the 
Bank  to  enter  commercial  life  he  was  travelling  manager. 
Very  many  men  who  now  occupy  important  positions  in 
Australia  in  the  mercantile  world  learned  their  A.B.C.  of 
business  in  the  Australian  Banks.  Mr.  Cox  was  one  of  the 
first  men  in  Christchurch  to  set  the  c.i.f.  meat  sales  going. 
He  came  to  England  in  1895,  and  joined  Birt,  Potter  and 
Hughes,  Ltd.,  and  took  charge  of  their  frozen  meat  interests. 
In  1897,  Mr.  Cox  went  to  Sydney  in  the  interests  of  the  firm 
and  settled  there  as  managing  director  of  Birt  and  Co.,  Ltd. 
During  the  South  African  War,  Mr.  Cox  had,  on  account  of 
his  firm,  a  large  share  of  the  conveyance  of  troops  and  horses, 
and  has  been  prominently  connected  right  along  with  all 
departments  of  the  frozen  meat  trade.  Mr.  Cox  has  a  genius 
for  details,  which  make  him  master  of  every  department  of  the 
meat  and  meat  shipping  business,  and  what  he  does  not  know 
about  it  is  not  worth  knowing. 

COXON,  FRANK,  set  sail  from  England] for  Dunedin,  New 
Zealand,  on  November  11,  1881,  a  time  when  "refrigerating 
engineers  "  were  not  so  numerous  as  they  are  now.  He  went 
out  to  supervise  the  erection  of  the  first  meat  freezing  works 
in  the  Colony,  those  of  the  New  Zealand  Refrigerating  Co.,  and 
this  work,  which  was  successfully  completed  at  Burnside  in 
1882,  made  Mr.  Coxon  one  of  the  pioneers  of  the  frozen  meat 
trade.  Mr.  Coxon  prepared  plans  for  the  buildings  of  tin- 
Belfast  works,  Christchurch,  opened  in  1883,  and  had  a  hand 
in  the  planning  of  most  of  the  early  meat  freezing  works.  Mr. 
Coxon  has  been  associated  all  along  with  the  development 
of  t  he  meat  freezing  industry,  and  many  of  the  Australasian 
works  have  been  designed  by  him.  It  is  interesting  to 


360     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

recall  some  of  his  pioneering  experiences.  One  of  his 
early  pieces  of  work  was  the  dismantling  and  equipping 
of  a  wooden  sailing  ship  the  Jubilee,  for  use  as  a  freezing  hulk 
for  the  Gear  Meat  Freezing  Co.,  of  Wellington.  The  vessel 
had  been  in  the  slave  trade,  and  large  numbers  of  old  hand- 
cuffs were  found  in  the  fore  peak  when  clearing  it  out.  The 
craft  did  many  years'  good  work  in  the  freezing  capacity,  and  is 
still  in  service  as  a  coal  hulk  in  Wellington  Harbour.  A  consider- 
able number  of  sailing  ships  including  the  Opawa,  Wellington, 
Marlborough,  Lady  Jocelyn,  Northumberland,  Turakina,  etc., 
were  installed  with  freezing  machinery  after  the  success  of 
the  pioneer  voyages.  The  s.s.  Fenstanton,  which  was  a  new 
tramp  steamer,  was  chartered  by  the  New  Zealand  Shipping 
Co.  in  1883.  The  vessel  was  not  fitted  to  carry  meat,  but  she 
was  sent  to  Lyttelton,  and,  under  Mr.  Coxon's  supervision,  a 
Haslam  freezing  plant  was  installed.  Gangs  of  labourers 
working  the  whole  twenty-four  hours  were  employed,  and  the 
job  was  finished  in  twenty-eight  days  ;  that  is  to  say,  the 
Fenstanton  was  fitted  with  machinery,  insulated,  docked, 
cleaned,  and  loaded  with  11,000  carcasses  of  mutton  and  general 
cargo,  and  was  off  to  London  within  a  calendar  month.  She 
was  the  first  vessel  to  enter  Port  Chalmers  dry  dock.  Mr. 
Coxon  mentions  that  after  this  time  the  meat  carrying  steamers 
arriving  at  New  Zealand  ports  exceeded  in  capacity  the  output 
of  the  works  on  shore,  and  that  it  was  no  unusual  occurrence 
to  have  mail  steamers  lying  off  the  wharf  freezing  a  portion  of 
their  own  cargoes  on  board.  Mr.  Coxon  was  employed  by 
the  New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.  to  supervise  the  freezing  arrange- 
ment of  their  vessels,  and  was  constantly  consulted  by  the 
Shaw,  Savill  and  Albion  Co.  also.  The  first  steamer  of  the 
last-named  company  intended  for  the  trade  was  the  Triumph, 
she  was  wrecked  under  the  lighthouse  on  Tiri  Tiri  Island, 
Auckland  Harbour. 

DALGETY  AND  Co.,  LTD.,  who  have  neglected  no  branch  of 
Australasian  produce  in  the  scope  of  their  all-embracing 
business,  were,  of  course,  one  of  the  pioneer  houses  to  help 
forward  the  frozen  meat  trade  in  the  days  of  experiment  and 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE     861 

doubt.  A  tragic  incident  associates  Dalgety's  and  the  frozen 
meat  industry.  Mr.  Richard  Black  wood,  for  some  time  acting  as 
manager  for  the  firm  of  Dalgety ,  Blackwood  and  Co.,  Melbourne, 
when  on  a  visit  to  England  fell  dead  with  heart  disease  on  th<> 
deck  of  the  Protoa ;  that  vessel  had  arrived  in  London  with  the 
second  cargo  of  frozen  meat  on  January  22,  1881,  and  Mr. 
Blackwood  had  gone  to  the  docks  to  inspect  the  meat. 

DAWES,    THE   LATE   SlR    EDWYN   SANDYS,   K.C.M.G.,    WEB   A 

pioneer  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  perceiving  its  possibilities  at 
an  early  stage,  and  applying  his  organizing  genius  to,  and 
embarking  his  capital  freely  in  the  new  business  in  connection 
with  his  shipping  enterprises  in  Queensland  and  elsewhere. 
Born  in  1838,  the  son  of  the  Rev.  Charles  Dawes,  rector  of 
Dilhorne,  in  Staffordshire,  he  entered  at  the  age  of  sixteen  the 
service  of  the  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Steam  Navigation  Co., 
and  in  this  way  was  brought  into  contact  with  the  late  Sir 
William  Mackinnon,  founder  of  the  British  India  Steam  Navi- 
gation Co.,  with  which  concern  Mr.  Dawes  became  associated. 
In  1881  the  British  India  Associated  Steamers  was  formed 
to  establish  the  Queensland  Royal  Mail  Line  by  Sir  William 
Mackinnon,  who  had  been  approached  by  the  late  Sir  Thomas 
Mcll wraith,  then  Premier  of  Queensland.  Mr.  Dawes  took 
a  prominent  part  in  this  enterprise,  and  a  regular  monthly 
service  between  London  and  Queensland  was  established 
via  Torres  Straits,  which  did  enormous  service  in  stimu- 
lating the  trade  of  Queensland  ports  and  the  agricultural 
and  pastoral  resources  of  the  Colony.  The  Queensland  Steam 
Shipping  Co.  was  formed  soon  after  as  an  offshoot  of  the 
Hi-it  ish  India  Associated  Steamers.  This  development  brought 
the  new  coastal  line  into  conflict  with  the  old-established 
Australian  Steam  Navigation  Co.,  and,  as  the  result  of  pro- 
longed competition,  the  Queensland  Steam  Shipping  Co. 
absorbed  in  one  transaction  the  fleet  of  upwards  of  twenty 
steamers  of  the  older  coastal  service,  and  the  combined  com- 
panies constituted  the  present  Australasian  United  Steam 
Navigation  Co.,  which  rapidly  gained  ground,  under  the 
chairmanship  of  Mr.  Dawes.  In  continuing  to  refer  to  his 


362    A   HISTORY  OF  THE  FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

work  in  connection  with  Anglo- Australasian  shipping,  it  may 
be  stated  that  Sir  Edwyn  Dawes  in  1890  took  over  from  Sir 
William  Pearce  his  controlling  interest  in  the  New  Zealand 
Shipping  Co.,  which  then  owned  fourteen  sailing  ships  and  five 
steamers.  Sir  Edwyn's  foresight  suggested  that  the  days  of 
sailing  ships  were  numbered,  and  he  accomplished  what  might 
justly  be  stated  as  the  greatest  triumph  of  his  commercial 
career,  the  complete  reorganization  of  the  New  Zealand 
Shipping  Co.,  and  the  solidification  of  its  position  hi  the  Colony. 
He  first  disposed  of  all  the  sailing  ships  and  subsequently  of 
the  five  costly  steamers,  replacing  them  by  powerful  and  well- 
equipped  passenger  and  cargo  steamers,  and  this  raised  the 
company  in  a  short  space  of  time  to  a  foremost  position  in 
the  New  Zealand  trade,  with  a  magnificent  fleet.  Sir  Edwyn 
Dawes  was  a  director  of  the  Suez  Canal,  and  one  of  the  leading 
lights  generally  of  the  shipping  community  hi  London. 
His  death  in  December,  1903,  caused  great  grief  to  a  wide 
circle  of  friends  in  England  and  the  Colonies.  In  reviewing 
his  life,  it  may  be  said  that  Sir  Edwyn  Dawes  was  a  pioneer, 
whose  passion  was  for  developing  the  undeveloped,  bringing 
order  out  of  chaos,  and  breathing  new  life  into  old  bones  ;  he 
was  ready  to  hand  over  to  others  the  carrying  out  of  schemes 
which  he  had  initiated,  whilst  himself  turning  to  some  fresh 
task.  Concerning  especially  Sir  Edwyn  Dawes's  association 
with  the  frozen  meat  trade,  both  as  to  freezing  works 
and  transit,  the  following  information  may  be  given  :— 
Poole  Island,  Queensland. — This  is  referred  to  on  p.  36. 
Austral  Freezing  works. — This  syndicate  was  formed  hi  1900  to 
take  over  the  Sandown  Freezing  works,  New  South  Wales, 
and  the  Newport  Freezing  Works,  near  Melbourne,  from 
Messrs.  John  Hotson  and  Co.  Sir  Edwyn  was  chairman, 
and  Mr.  William  Weddel,  Sir  George  Mackenzie,  and  Mr.  James 
Caird,  directors  in  London,  Mr.  John  Cooke  undertaking  the 
local  control.  The  company's  operations  unfortunately 
synchronized  with  the  great  drought,  and  after  incurring  very 
heavy  losses,  the  company  was  liquidated.  Central  Queens- 
land Meat  Co. — Sir  Edwyn  Dawes  was  indirectly  connected 
with  this  concern,  formed  in  London  in  1901,  along  with  Sir 


I  UK    I   VII     Ml:    IhUHS    >\M.V>    HAWKS,     K.C.M.U. 


To  /off  /i.  362. 


LEADING  PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE     86ft 

Montague  Nelson,  Sir  George  Mackenzie,  and  Mr.  James 
Caird.  It  took  over,  and  still  runs,  the  Lakes  Creek  Freezing 
Works,  Rockhampton,  Queensland.  Queensland  frozen  meat 
shipping  trade. — From  the  early  eighties  up  to  the  present  time 
the  British  India  Co.  has  been  engaged  in  the  shipping  of  meat 
from  Queensland,  sometimes  via  Torres  Straits,  sometimes  via 
the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  ;  associated  with  them  were  the  Ducal 
line  of  steamers,  owned  and  managed  by  Messrs.  J.  B.  Westray 
and  Co.,  and  the  Shire  Line,  owned  and  managed  by  Messrs. 
Turnbull,  Martin  and  Co.  Sir  Edwyn,  as  director  of  the  British 
India  Co.,  and  chairman  of  the  British  India  Associated 
Steamers,  identified  himself  particularly  with  this  branch  of 
the  company's  operations.  South  African  Meat  Trade. — 
In  1902,  Sir  Edwyn  undertook  the  chairmanship  of  the  South 
African  and  Australasian  Meat  and  Cold  Storage  Co.,  since 
liquidated.  The  concern  was  an  offshoot  of  the  old  Dutch 
company  of  Combrinks,  since  merged  into  the  Imperial  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  which  is  in  existence  to-day. 

DRABBLE,  THE  LATE  GEORGE  WILKINSON,  chairman  of  the 
River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  from  1882  until  the  time  of 
his  death  in  1899,  was  born  in  1823.  He  went  out  to  the  Plate 
in  1847,  but  proceeded  to  Monte  Video  first,  and  on  to 
Buenos  Aires  in  1848.  In  both  places  he  established  the  firm  of 
Drabble  Brothers  and  Co.  He  came  home  from  South  America 
for  good  in  1868,  only  paying  two  short  visits  to  the  Plate  after 
that  date.  What  Mort  discerned  in  Australia  Drabble  saw  in 
Argentina,  and,  moreover,  developed  into  a  successful 
industry.  Perceiving  Argentina's  possibilities  as  a  cattle 
and  sheep  producer,  Mr.  Drabble  in  1882  conceived  the  idea 
of  starting  the  meat  freezing  and  exporting  industry  in  the 
Republic.  He  was  then  chairman  of  the  London  and  River 
Plate  Bank  and  a  very  large  estancia  owner,  and  he  engaged 
a  young  Scottish  engineer,  John  Angus,  to  go  out  to  the  Plate 
and  fit  up  a  freezing  plant.  Mr.  Drabble  had  formed  in  London 
the  River  Plate  Fresh  Meat  Co.,  Ltd.,  the  original  board  of 
which  company  was  composed  as  follows  :  Mr.  G.  W.  Drabble 
(chairman),  Mr.  James  Aiming,  Mr.  George  R.  Davies,  Mr. 


364     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Charles  Gunther,  and  Mr.  (afterwards  Sir)  Joseph  Pulley.  Of 
this  board  only  Mr.  Davies  survives.  The  beginning  of  the 
great  Argentine  frozen  meat  export  trade  was  the  slaughter  of 
350  sheep  on  October  15,  1883,  and  7,500  carcasses  of  frozen 
mutton  were  shipped  to  London  in  November  from  the  com- 
pleted works  of  the  company  in  the  s.s.  Meath,  which  was  fitted 
with  Haslam  cold  air  refrigerating  plant.  The  Campana 
works  were  on  the  smallest  scale,  their  area  being  200  by 
100  feet,  and  Haslam  machinery  being  used.  Shipping  opera- 
tions were  harassing  in  the  early  days ;  the  company 
chartered  the  Zenobia  (1884),  Zephyrus,  Zeta  (1886),  and  Zarate 
(1887),  and  these  vessels  proceeded  direct  to  Campana  for 
their  meat  loading.  Mr.  G.  W.  Drabble  was  a  member  of 
the  municipality  of  the  city  of  Buenos  Aires  ;  was  one  of  the 
originators  of  the  Buenos  Aires  Great  Southern  Railway,  and 
the  City  of  Buenos  Aires  Tramways,  and  the  first  chairman  of 
the  Buenos  Aires  Western  Railway,  which  post  he  held  until 
the  time  of  his  death.  Although  not  one  of  the  original 
directors  of  the  London  and  River  Plate  Bank,  he  was  invited 
to  join  the  Board  when  he  came  to  Great  Britain  in  1868, 
and  remained  its  chairman  up  to  the  time  of  his  death. 

FITTER,  HENRY  SHIPLEY,  became  interested  in  the  frozen 
meat  trade  on  its  initiation,  as  a  member  of  the  firm  of  Messrs. 
Henry  S.  Fitter  and  Sons,  of  which  he  is  now  the  head.  The 
business  was  founded  in  1856,  and  was  carried  on  in  the  old 
Leadenhall  Market.  Originally,  Messrs.  H.  S.  Fitter  and  Sons 
occupied  Nos.  192  and  193  in  a  side  avenue  at  the  Central  Meat 
Market,  but  soon  moved  to  No.  142  hi  the  main  Avenue,  and 
later  added  No.  105.  When  the  old  fish  market  was  shut  up, 
Messrs.  Fitter  applied  for  space  there,  but  the  Corporation  at 
first  thought  they  would  reserve  it  for  provisions  and  pork. 
Afterwards,  however,  the  authority  gave  way,  and  Messrs. 
Fitter  started  at  Nos.  358  and  364  in  "  The  Japanese  Village," 
in  which  section  of  the  London  Central  Markets  such  a  large 
proportion  of  the  frozen  meat  business  is  transacted.  The  other 
members  of  the  firm  are  Mr.  Fitter's  two  brothers,  Messrs. 
Percy  and  Lewis  Fitter,  and  Mr.  Fitter's  two  sons,  Messrs. 


MK.     HKSKY   siim.KV    KITTKK. 


To  J 'act  p.  :<<•«. 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE     866 

Siilnoy  and  Erie,  will  probably  shortly  join  the  firm.  Messrs. 
Fitter  in  their  connection  with  the  frozen  meat  trade  have 
strictly  adhered  to  the  business  of  commission  salesmen.  In 
the  early  days  of  the  trade  the  business  was  almost  entirely 
transacted  on  commission  ;  but  as  the  industry  grew  rapidly, 
the  agents  outside  the  Markets  found  that  it  suited  their 
purpose  better  to  sell  on  c.i.f.  terms.  Many  of  the  market 
salesmen  also  found  it  more  convenient  to  buy  on  these  terms, 
rather  than  trust  to  the  uncertain  supplies  which  they  were 
getting  on  commission,  but  Messrs.  H.  8.  Fitter  and  Sons 
depend  almost  entirely  on  the  commission  business  for  their 
trade,  both  in  Australasian,  home-grown,  and  Continental 
meat,  the  steady  increase  in  the  volume  of  their  commission 
business  having  proved  conclusively  that  their  efforts  have 
been  appreciated  by  their  numerous  senders.  Mr.  Fitter's 
early  recollections  of  the  meat  trade  date  back,  of  course, 
to  pre-refrigeration  days,  when  dealings  were  chiefly  in 
home-killed  meat,  with  Dutch  mutton  and  pork  in  the 
season.  A  popular  trade  at  the  time  was  in  what  were 
known  as  Dutch  "  gigote,"  i.e,  the  haunches  of  sheep  (not 
eaten  by  some  of  the  strict  Jews),  cut  up  in  Holland  and 
shipped  over  to  this  country.  This  meat  was  not  preserved 
in  any  way,  but  made  a  fair  appearance  on  the  market,  being 
sponged  down  with  salt  and  water  when  necessary  before 
marketing.  Mr.  Fitter  has  recollections  of  the  very  first  ship- 
ment of  American  refrigerated  beef  which  came  from  New 
York.  He  also  has  keen  recollections  of  the  early  misgivings 
of  the  public  and  of  the  meat  trade  itself  as  to  the  possibilities 
of  ever  firmly  establishing  the  frozen  meat  trade.  Messrs. 
Fitter  handled  some  of  the  pioneer  consignments  of  Colonial 
mutton. 

FLETCHER,  MESSRS.  W.  AND  R.,  LTD.,  is  a  company  originally 
established  as  a  private  concern  in  the  year  1888,  which  has 
grown  continuously  until  it  is  now  recognised  as  one  of  the 
most  progressive  and  highly  successful  businesses  in  the  frozen 
and  dulled  meat  trade  of  the  United  Kingdom.  It  has  about 
400  retail  depots  situated  in  the  populous  centres,  besides 
wholesale  establishments  in  London,  Liverpool,  Manchester, 


366     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

Bristol,  Newcastle,  Hull,  Sheffield,  Southampton,  and  Leeds. 
They  are  also  owners  of  freezing  works  at  Geelong,  Victoria. 
The  managing  directors  are  Mr.  Samuel  H.  Fletcher  (son  of 
Mr.  Robert  Fletcher,  founder  of  the  company),  Mr.  W.  J. 
Kempson,  and  Mr.  William  Blagburn — the  manager  of  the 
retail  shops.  The  two  last  named  gentlemen  have  been 
actively  associated  with  the  business  since  its  inception.  The 
head  office  of  the  company  is  situated  at  19  and  20,  King 
Street,  West  Smithfield,  London,  E.G.  In  February,  1912,  a 
public  company  entitled  the  Proprietors  of  Fletcher's  (Meat 
Importers),  Ltd.,  was  formed  to  acquire  the  share  capital 
interest  of  Messrs.  Fletcher's  business.  "  It  may  be  interesting 
to  note,"  write  Messrs.  Fletcher,  "  that  in  the  early  days  of 
the  frozen  meat  trade,  imports  consisted  solely  of  carcasses  of 
mutton,  which,  as  everyone  knows,  have  been  augmented  in 
later  years  by  heavy  imports  of  frozen  lamb  and  frozen  beef." 
Notwithstanding  the  increased  shipments  of  chilled  beef,  they 
are  of  opinion  that  frozen  beef  will  still  remain  a  permanent 
feature  of  the  frozen  meat  trade. 

GEDDES,  THE  LATE  J.  H.,  was  prominently  connected  with 
the  trade  for  the  last  twenty  years  of  his  life.  About  1890, 
Sir  Patrick  Jennings,  the  Hon.  G.  H.  Cox,  Mr.  Henry  White, 
and  others,  were  associated  with  Mr.  Geddes  in  the  establish- 
ment of  the  Pastoral  Finance  Association  at  Sydney,  particulars 
of  which  are  given  elsewhere.  In  1894  Mr.  Geddes  suggested 
to  Mr.  Henry  White  that  he  should  try  the  experiment  of 
shipping  a  few  of  his  fine  cattle  alive  to  London  as  an  object 
lesson  for  the  Australian  beef  trade.  Accordingly,  18  cattle 
and  1,000  quarters  of  beef  were  dispatched  from  Sydney  on 
August  20,  1894,  in  the  s.s.  Port  Pirie.  Unfortunately,  the 
engineers  hi  charge  of  the  main  meat  cargo  and  of  the  experi- 
mental parcel  of  "  chilled  "  beef  quarrelled  (there  were  separate 
refrigerators),  bilge  water  was  pumped  into  the  pipes,  and  the 
"  chilled "  beef  had  to  be  frozen.  Shortly  after  this  Mr. 
Geddes  experimented  in  Sydney  with  chilled  beef,  holding 
beef  for  seventy-two  days  at  32°  F.  A  dinner  to  the  members 
of  the  Queensland  Club,  Brisbane,  was  given,  at  which  some  of 


THE   LATE   MR.  J.    H.   GKI'l-K-. 


Tu  faff  p.  966. 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE      36T 

this  meat  was  eaten.    In  October,  1894,  "  J.  H.  Geddee,  Birt 
and  Co.,  Ltd.,"  was  registered  in  New  South  Wales  (in  1899  the 
name  was  changed  to  Birt  and  Co.,  Ltd.).   This  represented  the 
introduction  of  the  important  shipowning  firms  of  J.  Potter  and 
Co.,  J.  Gavin,  Birt  and  Co.,  and  Allport  and  Hughes.    In  1897 
Mr.  Geddes  took  up  his  residence  permanently  in  England. 
At  this  period  he  made  further  efforts  to  open  up  the  Continent 
for   frozen   meat.     Retiring   from   his   association   with   the 
Sydney  company,  Mr.  Geddes,  supported  by  Mr.  Joseph  Moore 
and  other  Smithfield  gentlemen,  negotiated  with  the  Corpora- 
tion for  a  lease  of  the  extensive  series  of  cold  storage  chambers 
under  the  Central  Markets.    The  Smithfield  Markets  Cold 
Storage  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed,  with  Mr.  Geddes  as  its  managing 
director,  and  in  1899  this  became  the  London  Central  Markets 
Cold  Storage  Co.,   with   which   he   was   similarly  associated 
until  the  time  of  his  death.    For  years  he  was  consulted  by 
gentlemen  in  various  parts  of  the  world  engaged  in  establishing 
systems  of  cold  storage,  markets,  or  meat  distribution.    Mr. 
Geddes  was  mainly  instrumental  in  forming  the  Imperial  Food 
Supplies,  Ltd.,  and  the  General  Produce  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  one  of 
his  sons,  Mr.  J.  Robertson  Geddes,  is  now  managing  director  of 
the  latter  concern.     One  of  the  resolutions  passed  at  the  first 
International  Congress  of  Refrigeration  at  Paris  in  1908  was 
brought   forward    by  Mr.  Geddes :    "  That  the  refrigerating 
industry  having  attained  world-wide  importance,  it  is  highly 
desirable  that  exact  scientific  data  be  obtained  for  determining 
the  condition  as  to  time  and  temperature  under  which  perish- 
able produce  can  be  satisfactorily  kept."      For  many  yean 
before  his  death  Mr.  Geddes  had  in  view  the  application  of 
scientific  tests  to  determine  how  long  bacteria  could  be  kept 
at  bay  in  their  action  in  meat,  and  one  of  his  last  letters 
to  a  friend  in  the  trade  contained  the  following  sentence : 
"My  own  impression   is  that  chilled  beef  can   be  brought 
from   Australia.    I  shall  be  very    glad    to    place   space   at 
your    disposal    in    the    London    Central    Market    Stores    if 
you  care  about  trying  an  experiment."     Chilled   beef  was 
brought  in  1909,  and  it  was  in  that  year,  on  March  22,  that 
Mr.  Geddes  died. 


368       A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

GOODSIR,  GEORGE,  director  of  Messrs.  W.  Weddel  and  Co., 
Ltd.,  is  one  of  that  comparatively  small  band  which  can 
claim  not  only  an  active  interest  in  the  frozen  meat  industry, 
but  a  connection  with  it  which  dates  back  to  the  very  start  of 
the  trade,  for  his  introduction  to  the  frozen  meat  business 
took  place  when  he  wrote  a  report  upon  the  outturn  of  that 
famous  pioneer  cargo  of  meat  that  arrived  in  the  Strathleven  in 
January,  1880.  He  did  this  when  attached  to  the  produce 
department  of  the  New  Zealand  Loan  and  Mercantile  Agency 
Co.,  Ltd.,  whose  service  he  entered  in  1878,  when  that  company 
was  under  the  management  of  the  late  Mr.  H.  M.  Paul.  That 
early  trade  report  of  Mr.  Goodsir's  concerning  frozen  meat 
was  the  parent  of  many,  for  the  Market  Circulars,  and  "  Annual 
Reviews  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade,"  which  have  undoubtedly 
been  an  appreciable  factor  in  the  success  of  his  present  firm,  as 
well  as  informatory  to  the  trade  as  a  whole,  have  long  been 
under  his  editorship.  Issued  regularly  for  the  past  twenty- 
three  years,  these  "  Reviews  "  have  been  published  in  recent 
years  also  in  German  and  French,  and  they  have  attained 
a  world- wide  reputation  for  fulness  and  accuracy  of  information. 
Written  from  an  impartial  point  of  view,  these  "  Reviews,"  it 
is  understood,  are  dependent  for  much  of  their  value  upon  the 
goodwill  of  some  of  the  firm's  trade  rivals,  who  are  good 
enough  to  furnish  their  quota  of  information  in  order  that  the 
statistical  records  of  the  trade  as  a  whole  may  be  complete. 
It  was  in  1884  that  he  left  the  service  of  the  New  Zealand  Loan 
and  Mercantile  Agency  Co.  to  take  charge  of  the  London 
produce  business  of  the  National  Mortgage  and  Agency  Co. 
of  New  Zealand,  Ltd.,  but  returned  to  the  former  company  in 
the  following  year  in  order  to  take  up  a  more  responsible 
post.  In  1888  he  became  a  partner  with  Mr.  William 
Weddel,  and  his  brother,  the  late  Mr.  P.  G.  Weddel,  with 
the  object  of  developing  their  frozen  meat  and  general 
produce  business.  From  the  outset  the  combination  proved 
successful,  and  the  firm  of  W.  Weddel  and  Co.  forged  ahead 
rapidly,  extending  its  colonial  and  foreign  connections  until 
it  handled  a  large  percentage  of  the  meat  imports  of  the 
United  Kingdom.  Mr.  Goodsir  recently  visited  almost  all  the 


MK.    OEOROB  OOODSIR,    K.R.s.s. 


To  faff  /».   368. 


LEA  DIM,    PERSONALITIES  IN  THE  TRADE      369 

freezing  establishments  in  Australia  and  New  Zealand,  and  in 
this  way  has  completed  his  acquaintance  with  practically  thu 
whole  gamut  of  experiences  in  this  many-sided  and  world-wide 
industry.  A  firm  believer  in  the  fact  that  the  frozen  meat 
trade  is  still  in  its  infancy,  Mr.  Goodsir  has  taken  an  active  part 
in  the  pioneering  efforts  of  his  firm  to  secure  new  markets  on 
the  Continent  of  Europe  and  elsewhere,  and  also  in  the  recent 
successful  experiments  in  the  carriage  of  chilled  beef  from 
Australia.  He  has  worked  all  along  for  the  establishment  of 
the  frozen  meat  trade  on  well  organized  and  systematic 
business  lines,  and  was  to  a  great  degree  the  pioneer  of  the 
system  of  "  grading  "  frozen  meat,  upon  which  system  the 
now  extensive  c.i.f.  or  "  forward "  trade  in  frozen  meats 
was  gradually  built  up.  As  one  of  the  promoters  and  a  past 
President  of  the  Frozen  Meat  Trade  Association  (now  the  Incor- 
porated Society  of  Meat  Importers),  Mr.  Goodsir  has  taken 
his  full  share  in  the  general  development  of  this  trade,  apart 
altogether  from  any  personal  interest.  He  is  a  Fellow  of  the 
Royal  Colonial  Institute  and  of  the  Royal  Statistical  Society. 

GORDON,  WOODEOFFE  AND  Co.,  whose  interests  had  previously 
been  confined  to  India  and  the  East  generally,  opened  a  Colonial 
department  in  1895,  and  devoted  themselves  specially  to  the 
frozen  meat  trade,  in  which  as  agents  they  hold  a  prominent 
position.  In  the  great  extension  of  the  "  forward  "  trade,  and 
the  improved  organization  and  methods  by  which  it  is  worked, 
the  firm  have  taken  a  leading  part.  The  partners  in  the 
Colonial  department  of  the  business  are  Messrs.  G.  W.  P. 
Woodroffe,  W.  A.  Wigram  (brother  of  the  Hon.  H.  F.  Wigram 
of  New  Zealand),  E.  H.  Robinson,  and  Robert  Galloway. 
Mr.  Robinson  visited  New  Zealand  in  1894,  and  has  since 
identified  himself  very  thoroughly  with  all  the  rapidly  develop- 
ing features  of  the  trade  in  the  interests  of  his  firm.  Mr.  R. 
Galloway,  formerly  the  London  representative  of  the  Christ- 
church  Meat  Co.,  joined  the  firm  in  1900,  and  was  made  a 
partner  in  1909. 

GRBENSTREET,  CAPTAIN  HERBERT  EDWARD,  master  of  the 
New  Zealand  Shipping  Co.'s  Reinuera,  has  extracted  a  few 

F.M.  B   B 


370     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

particulars  from  the  log  of  the  Mataura,  the  first  vessel  of 
the  line  to  bring  frozen  meat  from  New  Zealand.  Captain 
Greenstreet  is  a  most  popular  skipper  on  the  Anglo-New  Zealand 
line ;  he  is  indeed  a  veteran,  having  made  eighty  round 
trips,  and  sailed  or  steamed  over  2,000,000  miles.  "  November, 
1881.  Appointed  master  of  the  barque  Mataura,  about  900 
tons  register.  The  barque  was  being  insulated  at  the  fore  end 
and  fitted  with  Haslam's  dry  air  machinery.  Mr.  (now  Sir) 
Alfred  Haslam  was  accidentally  shut  up  in  a  small  refrigerated 
chamber,  and  would  have  been  frozen  to  death  had  he  not  been 
discovered  in  time.  Left  London  December  15.  Crossed 
Equator  January  15.  Caught  albicore,  120  Ibs.  weight,  5  ft. 
1  in.  in  girth.  This  fish,  and  birds  shot  in  Southern  Ocean, 
were  put  in  the  chamber,  and  on  arrival  at  Lyttelton  were 
presented  to  Sir  Julius  Von  Haast  for  the  Christchurch  Museum. 
April  27,  made  fast  to  Port  Chalmers  wharf,  150  carcasses  per 
day  were  sent  on  board  and  frozen  in  'tween  decks  for  twenty- 
four  hours,  then  bagged  and  stowed  in  lower  hold.  The  meat 
cargo  consisted  of  3,844  carcasses  of  mutton,  24  quarters  beef, 
and  77  pigs  :  total  weight,  322,092  Ibs.,  freight,  £3,340.  The 
voyage  home  lasted  103  days,  and  great  worry  was  experienced 
as  the  boiler  feed  pumps  would  not  act  on  one  tack  when  the 
ship  heeled  over.  The  voyage  was  a  success,  and  the  meat  was 
delivered  in  excellent  condition."  Captain  Greenstreet's 
second  voyage  in  the  Mataura  with  meat  was  not  so  successful. 
Whilst  he  was  taking  delivery  at  Auckland  of  sheep  carcasses,  a 
vessel  was  discharging  bone  dust  near,  causing  a  fearful  stench, 
and,  doubtless,  distributing  microbes,  germs,  and  bacteria  ; 
about  4,000  of  the  carcasses  turned  out  bad  hi  consequence. 
On  the  homeward  passage  a  game  of  snowballing  was  indulged 
in  at  the  Equator.  Ten  years  later  Captain  Greenstreet 
commanded  the  s.s.  Ruahine,  with  a  carrying  capacity  of 
120,000  carcasses. 

GBIGG,  THE  LATE  JOHN,  of  Longbeach,  New  Zealand,  can 
claim  a  pioneer's  part  in  the  frozen  meat  trade.  A  portion  of 
the  cargo  of  the  sailing  ship  Dunedin,  which  took  New  Zealand's 
first  frozen  consignment  to  England,  consisted  of  some  half- 


.  \IIVIN   nru.KKi    K. 


To  faff  p.  3"o. 


LEADING   PERSONALITIES  IN  Till     'I  HADE     371 

bred  Shropshire  wethers  and  lambs  sent  by  Mr.  Grigg 
from  Longbeaoh,  which  has  been  spoken  of  as  the  "  beet  farm 
in  the  world."  From  the  first,  Mr.  Grigg  expressed  great 
confidence  and  hope  in  the  future  of  the  frozen  meat  trade,  and 
with  others  he  built  the  first  freezing  works  in  Canterbury,  at 
Belfast,  afterwards  forming  a  small  fanners'  company.  His 
early  efforts  among  the  sheepowners  to  get  them  to  send  sheep 
for  shipment  was  an  honourable  part  of  the  uphill  work  done 
for  a  great  industry,  and  his  pluck  and  determination  were 
ill-rewarded  by  the  loss  he  sustained  in  the  failure  of  the  consign- 
ment on  the  Mataura,  which  he  chartered  to  carry  his  own  fat 
stock  from  Longbeach,  as  well  as  a  small  quantity  of  meat  from 
otluT  farmers.  Unfortunately,  the  temperature  of  the  freezing 
chambers  was  allowed  to  rise  too  high,  and  the  meat  was  all 
condemned  when  it  arrived  in  London,  which  failure  cost  him  a 
large  sum  of  money ;  as  no  insurance  company  would  take  the 
risk  of  insuring  frozen  meat  in  those  days  of  trial  (notwith- 
standing the  fact  that  the  meat  by  the  Dunedin  was  covered 
for  £5  5s. )» the  whole  cargo  was  uninsured.  The  freight  for  this 
boat  was  2$d.  per  lb.,  besides  other  charges,  and  now  l$d.  will 
pay  all  charges  to  London.  In  many  cases  it  would  have  been 
better  from  a  point  of  view  of  profit  if  some  of  the  sheep  had 
jumped  into  the  sea  instead  of  going  on  board  a  ship,  as  in 
many  cases  the  prices  fetched  in  London  did  not  pay  the  ex- 
penses of  freezing  and  freight.  At  first  there  was  no  use  found 
for  lambs'  pelts,  and  they  were  buried  to  get  them  out  of  the 
way,  and  several  of  the  by-products  (paying  well  now)  were  not 
paying  then.  So  unprofitable  was  the  trade  of  buying  and 
.-hipping  meat  at  first  that  either  in  1886  or  1887  Mr.  Grigg 
bought  thousands  of  prime  fat  lambs  at  from  5s.  3d.  to  70.  6d. 
Many  farmers  in  the  Ashburton  County  followed  the  policy  of 
selling  their  lambs  forward  for  the  whole  season  at  la.  6d.  per 
head.  The  brand  under  which  Mr.  Grigg  shipped  was  known  as 
the  "Plumes"  on  the  London  market,  being  three  feathers  over 
No.  16.  This  brand  made  a  good  name,  and  was  well  known 
in  the  early  days  of  freezing  for  export,  representing  as  it  did 
extra  quality  and  strict,  even  grading.  During  the  early  yean 
of  freezing  Mr.  Grigg  used  to  buy  up  to  80,000  fat  sheep  and 

B  B  2 


372     A   HISTORY   OF  THE   FROZEN   MEAT  TRADE 

lambs  in  the  Ashburton  County  and  ship  them  to  London  every 
season.  In  growing  rape,  turnips,  and  clover  with  Italian  rye- 
grass,  to  top  off  lambs  after  weaning,  he  was  probably  one  of 
the  leaders.  In  one  season  from  December  to  the  end  of  May 
18,000  lambs  were  fattened  on  Longbeach  and  averaged  well 
over  40  Ibs.  each.  One  line  of  4,400  lambs,  which  were  all 
sold  on  the  same  day,  averaged  over  42  Ibs.  Mr.  Grigg  was  a 
strong  advocate  of  the  principle  that  the  freezing  companies 
should  not  deal  in  meat.  He  advocated  the  open  door  for  the 
farmer  and  his  stock,  and  the  advantage  of  the  consignment 
principle.  The  Canterbury